Genre: Sci-Fi/Action/Thriller
Director: Alex Proyas
Starring: Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, Alan Tudyk, Chi McBride, James Cromwell, Bruce Greenwood
RunTime: 1 hr 55 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Rating: PG

Released Date: 22 July 2004


Will Smith stars in this action thriller inspired by the classic short story collection by Isaac Asimov, and brought to the big screen by dynamic and visionary director Alex Proyas (Dark City, The Crow). In the year 2035, robots are an everyday household item, and everyone trusts them, except one, slightly paranoid detective (Smith) investigating what he alone believes is a crime perpetrated by a robot. The case leads him to discover a far more frightening threat to the human race. I, ROBOT uses a spectacular, state-of-the-art visual effects technique to bring a world of robots to life.


Scripted by Akiva Goldsmen (“A Beautiful Mind”) and suggested by books from Issac Asimov, “I, Robot” is set in Chicago, in the year 2035 whereby technological advancement is so great that Robots had penetrated into everyone’s lives. They are designed to walk your dogs, being a Fed-Ex deliveryman to cleaning your homes. It has integrated into every family and they are supposed to be more trustful than any one of us. Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith), however thinks otherwise. When a brilliant scientist Dr Alfred Lanning (James Cromwell), the man who pioneered the robotics technology is murdered, Spooner is called upon by the victim’s hologram device to investigate his death. Although Robots are confined to the “3 Laws Safe” that is “A robot cannot hurt a human being or allow a human being to come to harm; a robot must obey a human being’s orders unless the orders conflict with the first law; a robot must protect its own existence as long as it doesn’t conflict with the first or second law”. Apparently, Spooner is the only one who distrusts the current system and he believes a Robot, NS-5 nicknamed Sonny might be the murderer or the clue behind the murder.

With “I, Robot”, Director Alex Proyas successfully created a world of human and robots. He’s no doubt a visionary director who is able to recreate a new world filled with amazing elements yet so believable (citing his past
efforts for example: “The Crow and “Dark City”). Of course, he is assisted by the wizardry Digital Domain (“Titanic”), Weta Digital (“The Lord of The Rings) and Patrick Tatopoulos (“Independent Day”, “Underworld”) for the
countless visual effects, matt paintings, miniatures shots, digital sets and Sonny, the close to human expressions, saintly Robot NS-5. Even Audi has designed a cool car with spherical wheels specifically tailored for the movie.

Will Smith discarding his usual Jazzy Prince image, turns in a believable performance as a cop with a troubled past. Though the fresh prince still shoots in a couple of wisecracks in between. Bridget Moynanhan more well-
known for a role in “Sex and the City” starred opposite Smith as a robot psychologist. Rounding up the strong supporting cast are Bruce Greenwood (“Thirteen Days”, “The Core”) who portrayed the Chairman of U.S. Robotics, a sly businessman who is bringing the breakthrough technology to every household. Chi McBride as Spooner’s mentor and boss.

For the hardcore Sci-fi and action fans, “I, Robot” is never slacking in those areas; the epic battles between Men and Robots; the breath-taking tunnels crashes, explosions (enough to swipe your ear wax off with those mind-blowing digital sound) and tonnes of digital robots swaying across buildings and landscapes are simply a spectacle to behold. Fans will compared all these details with Spielberg’s “Artificial Intelligence”, “Minority Report” or even “Terminator 2”. But still, Proyas‘s version is substantial enough to stand on it’s own. Look around the various scenes, you will spot some pretty cool items, a shell-shape fan for example. Throw in a pair of “vintage 2004 Converse” shoes and JVC hi-fi set and you will see how ironic these items will look when it comes to the next era.

Several thought-provoking issues were raised in “I, Robot” if you look beyond the fancy effects. Basically, will Robots take over the human race, threatening the bare existence of mankind as human reliance and trust on them grew gradually? Will intelligent machines created by men evolutes on it’s own? The movie started as an ordinary murder mystery, slowly it develops and builds up the intensity and seriousness of the technological advancement issue. The downfall of it is the typical Hollywood clichéd bang bang ending. A twisted ending that deservedly supposed to be much smarter than expected. “I, Robot” is of course not a perfect movie, fortunately, it still delivers as a popcorn, full-pledged, 100% entertaining blockbuster. Definitely, worth your $8.50!

Movie Rating:

Review by Linus Tee

  Publicity Stills of "I, Robot"

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