Starring: WIll Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Bruce Greenwood
Director: Alex Proyas
Running Time: 115 mins
I, Robot is an American film about a police detective who becomes engrossed in an investigation of a crime that may have been committed by a robot, potentially presenting the first turn of robots against humanity in the near future.
This is a pretty fun movie from start to finish. With a very charismatic central performance from Will Smith, excellent CGI throughout, and an interesting crime story to boot, I, Robot proves a very entertaining blockbuster, although it misses out on going one step further and delving into what could have been a powerfully riveting look at the development of technology and the impact on the lives of humanity.
But let’s start off on the lighter side, because that’s where the film works best. There’s a lot to have fun with in I, Robot, but Will Smith’s performance is easily the best part of it all. His effortless charisma makes him an immediately likable lead from the start, something that plays a big role in allowing you to side with a man who seems to oppose all robots despite there being little evidence in his favour at first, while his talents as an action star in tandem with some fantastically cool and suave humour throughout makes him an absolute joy to watch.
Some of the supporting performances don’t quite match up to Smith’s eye-catching lead role, but he manages to carry the entire film very well throughout, and allows for two hours of a consistently entertaining action hero going all out to uncover an unlikely series of crimes.
Now, my overriding impression of I, Robot is that it’s just an entertaining blockbuster. It’s got great action, a good sense of humour and excellent visuals, all of which make it the perfect recipe for two hours of popcorn entertainment. However, that doesn’t mean it’s all style and no substance, because it does well to provide what is in fact a pretty interesting, albeit not endlessly unpredictable, crime mystery.
From the start, it’s fairly clear which way the mystery is going to go, but that doesn’t mean it’s still not interesting. What the screenplay does well is throw up as much opposition to Will Smith’s investigation as possible, pitting him against an almost indomitable force that, although it’s clear to you, the viewer, is guilty, seems incredibly adept at avoiding the eyes of the law, meaning that it’s our main man that often ends up on the wrong side of things, all of which allows for some great conflict throughout.
The one part of the story that doesn’t work so well is its emphasis on deeper, more Blade Runner-esque themes. Although the film brings a little more depth to the story in its final act, I felt that there was a huge opportunity missed to delve into some really powerful and intriguing future predictions, as the film chooses the more light-hearted, popcorn route, rather than using its setting to make an interesting statement about the future of A.I., and at what point everything will eventually get out of hand.
Overall, however, I still had a lot of fun with I, Robot. It’s a really entertaining popcorn blockbuster that keeps you engaged from start to finish, and although it may not have the world’s most complex or intensely riveting story, its excellent visuals and brilliant central performance go a long way to making it a whole of fun to watch, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.4.