"Playing God and Man"
Aside from the brilliant SPIDER-MAN 2, 2004 has seen a dearth of good action-adventures. I, ROBOT almost reaches the pantheon of worthwhile action movies but falls apart at the very end in an illogical, senseless scene of politically correct silliness. This script failure places it between three and four star quality, with the entertaining action pushing it toward four stars.
I, ROBOT combines two Isaac Asimov short stories into the story of Detective Del Spooner, played by Will Smith, who lives in the year 2035, when robots do everything for mankind. Det. Spooner does not like robots, however. He has a feeling that they’re going to go bad, and, of course, he’s right. The problem is that no one believes him because he has cried “wolf” several times before. In fact, he chases down a robot running with a purse, only to find that the robot was taking the purse to its owner who needed her inhaler.
When Dr. Lanning, the scientist who developed all of these semi-intelligent robots, including the latest model NS-5, is found splattered on the floor of an indoor atrium at the U.S. Robotics Company in an apparent suicide, Det. Spooner immediately thinks that it’s a robot who did it. He demonstrates that Dr. Lanning could not have pushed out the safety glass and had no reason to commit suicide, but no one wants to listen.
However, one robot, named Sonny, specially developed by Dr. Lanning, has become particularly intelligent and even dreams at night. When Det. Spooner is searching Dr. Lanning’s laboratory with Dr. Susan Calvin, another scientist at U.S. Robotics Company, Sonny jumps up and tries to fight with and then escape from Det. Spooner. The police detain Sonny, but Lawrence Robertson, the head of U.S. Robotics, gets a court order to force the police to release Sonny. Protecting his company’s product – robots – Lawrence says that robots are perfectly safe because they must obey Asimov’s three basic laws, that is: 1) they may not harm or injure a human being; 2) they must obey human beings except where it conflicts with the first law; and, 3) they must protect themselves as long as it doesn’t conflict with the first two laws.
The police let the robot go. Soon thereafter, however, Det. Spooner is attacked by a whole regiment of robots, but when the police arrive the robots have disappeared and no one believes Det. Spooner. Soon, however, the robots revolt, and it’s a race against time as Det. Spooner tries to figure out the mystery to solve the murders and stop the revolt.
I, ROBOT moves along nicely with a few dull places in the initial set up. At the end, however, instead of fulfilling the logic of the premise, there is a scene of forgiveness which says that only humans can murder humans. That statement is ridiculous. In the Bible, which is mentioned in the movie but not consulted on this matter, murder is the intentional killing of a human whether by the adversary, demons, powers, or principalities, and there is always a penalty for murder. As it is, the murderer gets off scot-free, and there is an ambiguous ending, which indicates that the plot problem has not been solved.
This movie has a good look to it, and the look shows through in the trailer. In fact, aside from Will Smith’s atrocious costumes, the set design and other costumes are intriguing, the robots are wonderfully crafted, and the photography and CGI are very good. After a spotty opening, Will Smith settles well into his part, and the other acting is serviceable.
Regrettably, the movie features lots of intense action violence and some brief nudity. There is also some foul language, which is rebuked several times. There is an attempt at a moral worldview, with mention of church, Bible, and a Scripture prayer, diminished by ambivalent references to predestination and free will that perpetuate a misunderstanding of predestination, and marred by some anti-capitalist elements, a humanist ending, political correctness, and evolutionary comments
I, ROBOT is a B-movie with some exciting moments. If it had carried the premise out to its logical conclusion, it would have been one of the better action-adventure movies of the year. As it is, it may just come to your local theater, do relatively well, and then hasten off to the video bin.
(B, CC, Acap, H, PC, Ev, LL, VV, N, A, M) Attempt at moral worldview, with mention of church, Bible, and a scriptural prayer, diminished by ambivalent references to predestination and free will which perpetuate a misunderstanding of predestination, and marred by some anti-capitalist elements, humanist ending, political correctness, and evolutionary comments; 15 obscenities and five profanities, but teenager is rebuked several times for cursing; lots of action violence with man spitting blood, blows to the head, car crashes, fall from great heights, crushed skull, strangled man, beatings, drownings, and many other violent situations and threats of violence; no sex; upper male nudity of man getting out of bed, full side male nudity of man in shower, and a scene much later with female nudity of woman in shower, with both shower scenes obscured by glass shower doors; drinking to excess; no smoking; and, deception.
GENRE: Science Fiction
I, ROBOT almost reaches the pantheon of worthwhile action movies but falls apart at the very end. Will Smith stars as Detective Del Spooner, who lives in the year 2035, when robots do everything. When Dr. Lanning, the scientist who developed all of the semi-intelligent robots, is found splattered on the floor in an apparent suicide, Spooner immediately thinks a robot is guilty. He has cried wolf once too often, however, so no one believes him, until the robots finally revolt. Then, it becomes a race against time as Spooner tries to figure out the mystery to solve the murder and stop the revolt.
I, ROBOT moves along nicely with a very few dull places in the initial set up. Will Smith eventually settles well into his part. Instead of fulfilling the logic of its premise, however, there is an ambiguous ending, which indicates that the plot problem has not been solved. Regrettably, the movie also features lots of intense action violence and brief nudity. There is also some foul language, which is rebuked several times. Finally, despite an attempt at a moral worldview, the movie contains anti-capitalist elements, a humanist ending, and evolutionary comments.