out of 4
All-Reviews.com Movie/Video Review
Review by Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4
Fans of the visionary science-fiction guru Isaac Asimov should keep in
mind that this high-tech thriller is "suggested by" his short stories and
adapted by Jeff Vintar and Akiva Goldsmith.
Set in Chicago in 2035, the futuristic story begins as robotophobic
homicide detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) suspects that a rogue robot, Sonny,
(voiced by British actor Alan Tudyk) may have killed its 'father,' inventor Dr.
Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell). This archaic concept is ridiculed by U.S.
Robotics' CEO (Bruce Greenwood) and his icy, humorless robo-psychiatrist
(Bridget Moynahan), particularly since the company is set to roll out its new,
more sophisticated prototype. Even Spooner's supervisor (Chi McBride) and his
grandmother (Adrian Ricard) dismiss his Luddite fears as irrational. Everyone
knows robots are benign machines, hard-wired never to harm a human and
programmed to cheerfully do menial work. But Spooner's paranoia pays off when,
inexplicably, a computer wildly malfunctions, inciting a robotics rebellion.
While the actors are certainly credible, Australian director Alex Proyas
("The Crow," "Dark City") concentrates on the combative visuals in this
familiar, derivative, yet ironic, "ghosts in the machine"
fantasy-action-adventure, relying on CGI legions of androgynous, human-faced,
blue-eyed, "evolved" robots to repeatedly smash up the screen. The contrived
dialogue is predictable and, curiously, the crux of a sub-plot involving a
teenager (Shia La-Beouf) must have landed on the cutting-room floor - and
what's with the Converse sneakers product-placement? While not as good as
"Blade Runner" or "A.I.," on the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "I, Robot" is
a sleek, stylish, sinister 8, a fun flick with a speculative metaphysical
ending that makes you think.
Copyright © 2004 Susan Granger
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