It’s 2035 and robots have advanced to the stage where they are commonplace. They do the menial tasks that humans don’t want to do. They clean, bake, collect rubbish and do deliveries. With a robot for every 5 people it all sounds great – no more vacuuming, washing the car, cutting the grass or taking out the rubbish. Is it too good to be true? One man who thinks so is Chicago detective, Del Spooner (Will Smith). He doesn’t like the robots and doesn’t trust them even though they are programmed not to harm humans. His suspicions are reinforced when he is called to an apparent suicide. It seems like an open-and-shut case but Spooner knows the victim; a famous robotics engineer and developer. There doesn’t seem to be any reason why he would kill himself.
This futuristic thriller is not without its flaws but it has a good balance of action, intrigue and suspense. The action scenes are very well done but the movie doesn’t depend on action alone. Where some movies seem to have endless action sequences this movie does the action scenes very well with great special effects but also takes time to develop a bit of a story and build in a little intrigue. The story moves along at a good steady pace to a climatic ending and avoids the trap of being too long and becoming tiresome or boring.
While the story is straight forward the intrigue is generated by not revealing everything to the audience immediately. A “unique” robot called Sonny (voiced by Alan Tudyk) seems to hold the key to the death of the robotics expert (James Cromwell). Can a robot really keep secrets? This one seems to have some human traits and also claims to have dreams. Another source of interest is Del Spooner’s dislike and distrust of robots. In the first half of the movie there are hints as to why he doesn’t like robots and the reasons are revealed as the story unfolds.
The acting in sci-fi action movies often takes a back seat to the special effects and while everyone puts in sound performances there will be no Oscars! Will Smith plays detective Del Spooner who persuades Susan Calvin (Bridget Moynahan), a robotics expert and psychologist, to help him. She, a cold logical person, is the opposite to the temperamental detective.
You can usually expect a certain amount of advertising in a movie but it can be annoying when it is very obvious. There is a lot of obvious “product placement” in I, Robot. When you are very conscious of this it can distract from the story and it is harder to become engrossed in it.
The Bottom Line: Movies of this type have to find a balance between action, special effects and story, this one gets it right. If you enjoyed the following movies you might also like I, Robot: Minority Report, The Matrix Revolutions, The Matrix Reloaded, Terminator 3, Star Wars Episode II – Attack Of The Clones.