Are you in the mood for a thinking-man's movie, stacked with twists and turns and subplots and a surprise ending that blows you out of your seat?
Oh. Sorry, I can't think of anything to recommend to you this year.
But if you'd be satisfied with an adequate sci-fi thriller, heavy on special effects and action, and light-to-medium on thought and plot, then give "I Am Legend" your hard-earned nine dollars.
There have been quite a few movies this year that have left me feeling incomplete. "August Rush" felt like it ended about ten seconds to soon. "No Country For Old Men" seemed to waste its phenomenal acting and directing on a story that dragged me around rudely for two hours, only to dump me off a couple of blocks from where I started, but in a bad part of town.
I'm sorry, but that annoys me. Don't lure me into the theater unless you intend to tell me a story. And don't start telling me a story unless you have every intention to finish what you started.
You won't have that problem with this movie.
Will Smith stars as the Last Man on Earth, in a New York City overrun with the zombie-esque victims of a human-made supervirus. We follow him over the course of a couple of days, watching his lonely daily routine broken up by conversations with mannequins and his dog, violent run-ins with zombies, and medical research in his basement to find a cure for the super-virus. (Lucky for humankind, the last normal human alive is also a genius virologist. What are the chances, right?)
The plot is a simple-minded, point A to point B to point C kind of story. But they have fights with zombies and they blow up a lot of crap, so that makes up for what it lacks in smarts.
And it's not like the movie is completely devoid of intelligence. If you want something deeper than simple action out of your movie, it delivers on that level too. There's a classic Good-Vs.-Evil message here spelled out in the form of "Light dispells the evil-doers" and a Bob Marley soundtrack. (You'll find it, don't worry, it's not buried that deep.)
Bottom line, I Am Legend satisfies. It doesn't amaze or dazzle, and it isn't that deep-in-your-soul kind of satisfaction, but it delivers the 2 hours of entertainment you were looking for, without leaving you feeling like you got three-quarters of a good story followed immediately by the closing credits.
I give it a 7 out of 10. Maybe it only deserves a 6, but I like it when they blow crap up.