Reviews

I, Robot

4

You might be forgiven for thinking that, when you plonk down your money to see I, Robot, you're going to get a Men In Black-ish, Will Smith sci-fi adventure. And for a lot of the running time, that's exactly what you do get. Those after a slavish cinematic adaptation of Isaac Asimov's The Caves Of Steel or any of his other automaton tales will find little beyond some character names and those three all-important robotics laws. But that's not to say this is a bloated, programmed run-through of clichés.

Because what we have here is a summer blockbuster that's been hardwired with a little more intelligence than usual. It might not be a Solaris-level rumination on the nature of existence, but I, Robot's script subtly touches on slavery, fascism and man/ machine interaction, while still being peppered with recognisable, Smith-flavoured quips and kinetic action set-pieces. The expected money shots don't fail to impress either, with a mid-movie car-tunnel crunch proving particularly pulse-pumping.

To his credit, Smith is trying a new style here. This is not the one-dimensional Slick Willie of Independence Day. His 'tec is a bitter throwback, a man uncomfortable in a droid-filled America and sceptical of any technology that can think for itself. He doesn't get up to the usual no-scratch heroics either, one particular robo-scrap ending with a bedraggled and bloodied Spooner cursing his luck.

On the downside, Alex Proyas, the man who brought a unique vision to life in cult fave Dark City, is somewhat hamstrung by the conventions of what, in essence, is a basic detective story: clue A leads to clue B while Smith's loner cop faces a wall of scepticism along the way. But he and production designer Patrick Tatopoulos have at least created a dazzling future-world, the effects seamlessly integrated with the actors. Best of all is Alan Tudyk, who invests metal-man Sonny with more emotion than the entire human cast put together.

Smarter than the average popcorn fare, yet still delivering on the gosh-wow moments we've come to expect, I, Robot surfs a wave of bad buzz to deliver a pleasant midsummer surprise.

Verdict:

Though a little clockwork Hollywood at times, a solid story means this is always compelling. A truly worthy effort from Smith, Proyas and Co.

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User Reviews

    • graham6

      Mar 19th 2009, 16:22

      5

      The best Will Smith film to date! I totally agree with the TF review. This is a big step up for Smith and it's a lot better than Men In Black, which is great film. And now, with an expected I, Robot 2, there's more to enjoy. Let's hope they don't spoil this great action movie.

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