To me, this is one of those real Will Smith-y Will Smith films. It’s Will Smith doing his Will Smith in a film that’s good but not great but he makes it a bit more fun than it really is.
Speaking of Will Smith, he plays Detective Spooner, a guy who really doesn’t trust robots due to a tragic event from his past. But, in the year 2035, robots are everywhere. Doing cooking, carrying handbags. All the useful stuff… But soon Spooner’s scientist buddy Dr. Lanning commits suicide, but he leaves behind some clues as to why, knowing that Spooner is the only one who hates robots enough to follow them and unravel the mystery. I think it’s a pretty interesting little detective mystery with some decent action scenes thrown in too.
The performances are a bit iffy. Will Smith is great as, well, Will Smith. He’s getting on everybody’s nerves with his constant chatting and annoying little comments and he’s actually kind of funny. Alan Tudyk as potentially nice robot Sonny is really good. He sounds very robotic and the special effects used to bring him to life are really good. He’s very naive, but also very curious. He’s an interesting character and this film is his story really. The rest of the cast you could take or leave as they’re all a bit plain. Bridget Moynahan as Dr. Calvin doesn’t do much beyond spout robot jargon and gasp a lot. Bruce Greenwood as jerk CEO Robertson is pretty one not and James Cromwell as Lanning just turns up in holograms and doesn’t really do much. Even Shia LaBeouf pops up but does little more than talk and complain really quickly.
The special effects are fairly decent for 2004. Everything looks good enough, not real, but good enough. The robots have a nice design and feel quite futuristic. Similarly, the action is fairly enjoyable too. There’s nothing incredible, but there are some cool moments and it’s all pretty fun. And the story flows with it well. It even makes you think about a thing or two for a little bit. Can a robot truly feel? It borders on being quite thought provoking sometimes, before Will Smith starts quipping and shooting two guns at a time at a horde of angry robots.
I still maintain this is a pretty decent film. Granted, it isn’t the best. And maybe I have a soft spot for it was it as one of the first DVDs I ever owned, but I still enjoy it whenever I watch it a find myself having some good old fun.
JACK’S SCORE: 3/5