September 18th, 2010

I AM OMEGA (2007) ** ½

I Am Omega is yet another “Mockbuster” from the people at The Asylum, the studio that specializes in low budget knockoffs of big time Hollywood fare.  It’s obviously a rip-off of I Am Legend starring Will Smith.  Now the novel I Am Legend by Richard Matheson is one of my favorite books of all time.  Of the three official film adaptations, The Last Man on Earth is far and away the best, although The Omega Man and I Am Legend definitely have their charms.  Since I’ve seen some of The Asylum’s other films (Mega Piranha anyone?), I was fully prepared for this thing to suck.  Surprisingly enough, I Am Omega is pretty enjoyable.  Actually it’s really fucking good for about 40 minutes or so.  Then it just sorta turns to shit, like your average Asylum movie.

 

If you’ve seen I Am Legend, you’ve pretty much seen this.  Except instead of Will Smith as The Last Man on Earth, you’ve got Mark (Double Dragon) Dacascos.  And instead of living in a big desolate city, he lives in an empty small town.  The main difference is that the mutants he fights are played by human beings in latex suits instead of shitty CGI effects.  So this movie is one-up on I Am Legend in that department.

 

There were a lot of things I enjoyed about this movie actually.  The first half of the flick in particular is better way than it has any right being.  It’s here in the early scenes where we really get to know Dacascos.  What I found cool about his character was that after spending all that time being The Last Man on Earth, he became a little crazy.  Like the time he had a mental breakdown when a broken radio started working all by itself.  Turned out there wasn’t really a broadcast, he was just going nuts.  Or the time when he tried to rescue a woman from some mutants, but it turned out he just imagined her.  And even when he discovers there are other humans (via a web chat), he shuts off all his electricity and sits alone in the dark.  You see, he’s grown so used to being The Last Man on Earth that he doesn’t want to deal with the fact that he’s not alone any more.  I mean this guy eats prescription pills like Pez candy, so it’s not like he’s the most stable of main characters.  I did like how he punched a time clock in and out whenever he went out to look for supplies.  Of course he also practices Kung Fu in his backyard a la Dalton in Road House, so you already know that this is my kind of guy.

 

Yeah, if you couldn’t already tell, I dug the living crap out of the first forty minutes of this movie.  Tragically, things go downhill in record time once Dacascos runs into these two redneck bozos who want to find The Last Woman on Earth because her blood can potentially make a vaccine to cure the Mutant Plague.  These dudes are annoying as fuck (and the chick is no prize either) and quickly ruin whatever spell the film managed to cast.  There’s also a terribly bad taste scene near the end where one of the dudes ties the gal up and tries to make her have sex with a corpse.

 

I don’t think anyone will ever mistake Mark Dacascos for Vincent Price, Charlton Heston, or even Will Smith but he is very effective here.  We already know he can handle himself in the action scenes (like when he busts out his nunchucks on some mutants) so that was no surprise.  The real revelation is how he handles himself in the thespian department.  He is quite impressive in the scenes where he slowly goes crazy and he did a Hell of a job with what he was given. 

 

The other cast members are just pathetic.  The main villain in particular.  If you take a shot of your favorite alcoholic beverage every time he calls Dacascos “compadre”, you’ll die from alcohol poisoning long before the credits roll.