JT Film Review

52 – I, Robot (2004)


3/5 stars

Director – Alex Proyas

Cast – Will Smith, Bridget Moynahan, James Cromwell, Alan Tudyk, Bruce Greenwood, Chi McBride



At first glance I, Robot is a cookie cutter movie based on all the Hollywood sci-fi cliches, and in a sense it is. We have Will Smith in his typical bad ass persona, smart mouthing left right and center. We have robots (extra points for having rebellious robots), and smart, older, British scientific types. And we also have the All American business man who just possibly could be the bad guy. Even the tagline for the movie “One man saw it coming” reeks of countless movies past.

However, director Alex Proyas manages to wring just a bit of originality out of the movie. A couple monkey wrenches are thrown into the story periodically; we are often presented with a series of events where we think “Oh, this is such a rip off, I know exactly what will happen next”, but then something else happens. Because the movie isn’t that great, we are thrown once in a while when something good shows up.

The action is fairly well done; even though a few camera moves try to rip off The Matrix a little they still work. The robot on robot action we see can be almost spectacular. However, the best action in the world will not save a movie from the lack of a good storyline. In fact a couple of action scenes seem inserted just to get a bit more bang, and they get in the way of what story we have.

The story here, for the most part, is unfortunately trite and one long retread of all the sci-fi action movies we have seen. However the movie is successful when it incorporates ideas from the Isaac Asimov book from which it is supposedly based, I, Robot. The “Three Laws of Robotics” for example are a great concept and work well. (They can be twisted well also, as the filmmakers do and as Asimov himself did.)

One thing that must be mentioned is the product placement. This film is rife with it, especially one running placement involving Will Smith’s vintage shoes. (I won’t mention the name of the shoes because a) that would be furthering the product placement and b) I can’t remember the name. It’s a famous brand though, you’d recognize them.)

irobot1The main robot of the story (nicknamed “Sonny”) is played by Alan Tudyk (most notably known for playing the pilot in Firefly (TV) and Serenity. His performance was captured in a much similar way to how Gollum from the LOTR Trilogy was created. His presence is nice in the movie, as it adds a calm, logical, yet conflicted character to put opposite Will Smith. The CG used for him is also very convincing.

And one last thing, a pet peeve of mine. Why is it that whenever we have a protagonist of a movie (no matter what genre) who is black, then most associates of his (from a wife, to friends, to his boss and co-workers) must also be black? I would love to see an interracial marriage on screen, especially in a plot line where it is not required. Surely we’re at that point now folks, right?


I, Robot is definitely not very original, yet does have a strange feel to it that makes it watchable. It certainly does not rise above many other movies in this genre, however it also doesn’t sink below the pack. Only barely recommended.



“I, Robot” on other websites:

IMDB —– Rotten Tomatoes —– Wikipedia



October 1, 2009 - Posted by | 3 Stars, Film Review, Genre - Sci-fi, Year - 2000-2009 | , , , ,

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