I got to go to see I Am Legend with Will Smith the Friday before last at a press screening. It’s just been a bit of a manic week so this is the first opportunity I’ve had to post a review of it. I have never read Richard Matheson’s novel but I have seen Charlton Heston’s The Omega Man, a 1971 film that sees Heston driving around dressed in a safari suit shooting at zombies, which is also based on Matheson’s story. It’s as silly as it sounds and hasn’t dated well. I Am Legend is directed by Francis Lawrence who was responsible for the schlocky comic adaptation Constantine with Keanu Reeves back in 2005 but I am pleased to say that movie is a giant step from that effort. Smith plays Robert Neville, the last man in New York after a terrible disease appears to have wiped out the rest of the city’s inhabitants. So he wanders the city during daylight with his dog in an attempt to find a cure for the disease and restore life to the city. The Omega Man was set in Los Angeles but the New York setting here works so much better with the ghostly shell of a major metropolis realised to eerie and unsettling effect. Lawrence ratchets up the tension, helped by the magnificent performance of Will Smith, who effectively has to carry the film. Viewers have seen a deserted city left to go to ruin in things like 28 Days Later but the New York City of I Am Legend has a uniquely haunted feel to it. The film ends on a high note but you are mostly left satisfied at its conclusion.I Am Legend is a tense sci-fi thriller with a masterful performance from Will Smith, who captivates the viewer from his first appearance on screen to the last reel. It asks some questions of its audience and it makes you think as you leave the cinema and there are few Hollywood films that do that these days.