I set myself up the double feature tonight, and frankly I should have known better. Having the night to myself, I watched Collateral and I, Robot, two films that I had wanted to see for entirely different reasons. Results were mixed, drinks were had, and now I’m compelled to share.
I’ll start with Collateral: (Starring Jamie ‘No Relation to Redd’ Foxx, The Tom Cruise Stubble Edition Figure, and L.A.)
First off, Cruise and Foxx were just perfect together. Had the film not strayed into useless subplot land, I’d have been much happier just watching the interaction and symbiotic relation between the two leads. Foxx did an amazing job with his very subtle arc from assured slacker professional unable to exceed his surroundings to a determined and agressive hero assuming the characteristics of his nefarious fare.
The setup was great, the cinematography and editing were fantastic, and I really enjoyed the plot. Until the last 25 minutes completely fell apart and wandered into hackneyed Hollywood plot twist land, that is. So, overall… Had the last act been handled better and the cheesy Mark Ruffalo sub-plot been dropped, it’d have been a fantastic film.
But I, Robot? (Starring Will Smith and his Amazing Technicolor Ego)
The only way I, Robot could have been worse would have been if the robots had pulled a Halloween 3: Season of the Witch and caused little tiny robots to erupt from my couch and rape my bleeding eye sockets. This movie had about as much to do with the stories and theories of Isaac Asimov as the post-chili bowel eruption ZolarCzakl left in my toilet this morning. Less, actually. I think the only thing this movie had in common with the famed collection of robot short-stories is the fact that the letters in the title line up the same.
I’d like to be able to go into a very long and detailed account of just how badly this movie sucked, but all that keeps popping into my head is this: Johhny 5 is alive! No disassemble!
Seriously, this film was Short Circuit meets Zulu vs. The Lawnmower Man. Which brings up another point. Do you think that when Will Smith is swimming in his massive lake of unearned cash he stops to think “Hey, is there some kind of moral implication when I, a black male, portray a prejudicial oppressor determined to eradicate a ‘race’ of beings who are compelled to serve?” I’d like to think so, but more likely he’s just fantasizing about wearing his cap at the ultimate cool angle.
I’d have been very interested to see how Asimov’s stories would be handled by someone who cared about them and to be honest, it did seem that Alex Proya WANTED to tell an interesting philisophical sci-fi story, but I’m guessing that once Will Smith came on board it became yet another exercise in “Just how sassy and irreverent can I be” filmaking that Will Smith seems to think he’s good at. (Dear Will: You’re not. You suck, actually. Could you go ahead and just stop please?)
So in conclusion:
Collateral: Great film if you stop it about 20 minutes before the film ends
I, Robot: Great film if you need to use the DVD to cut cocaine or to kill Will Smith’s agent.