Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I AM OMEGA (2007)

SCIENTIFIC FACT LEARNED: Karate can’t cure viruses.


The Chevy Nova of the Apocalypse, the Fluffy Bunny of Armageddon, the Rubber Ducky of Doomsday, Dumpster of the Living Dead, Anti-Monster Nunchucks, Missus Ah-Whiggins, Cal Worthington's discount inventory, and America's Suntanned Iron Chef vs. America's Cheapo Plastic Zombies.

More details here.


It's a world torn asunder by mysteries. One: the Earth's populace has been transformed into mutated creatures that only come out at night to feed on flesh. Two: one man has somehow survived the world-ending catastrophe and must battle the undead hordes nightly to survive. Three: a dark couple reproduces the whitest kid this side of a Connecticut boarding school. And so into this world awakes Renchard (Mark Dacascos), a former military man living in the sticks faraway from the zombie-infested city of Los Angeles. As he dreams of his dead wife and white son and plagued by hallucinations of non-Imus bad radio, he's constantly under the attack by the bloodthirsty and balding fiends. His plan to end the plague of gut-munching shambling droolers is to fire off a series of bombs strategically placed around the city. But Renchard is rapidly losing his mind in despair, loneliness, and terror. One day he receives a video transmission on his laptop from a desperate woman (Jennifer Lee Wiggins) from an unknown location, and just as he goes out to find her, he’s thwarted by a couple of armed homoerotic goofs (Geoff Meed & Ryan Lloyd). We learn that the woman’s blood is immune to the zombie virus and thus holds the key to saving the world from further destruction. But the two goofs like the way things are and hunt down Renchard and the woman. And with a city riddled with ticking time bombs and filled with malnourished zombies, it will take more than a miracle and a copyright violation to save humankind.


If I Am Omega’s angle sounds familiar, it's probably because you've seen it before, in at least three different versions. Richard Matheson’s novel I Am Legend has been translated into several works, most notably 2007’s I Am Legend, the classic Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price and Charlton Heston’s 70s flick Omega Man. But even the putrid Wil Smith vehicle is better than this turkey, but not by much. Oozing from the crazy, copyright-defiling studio known as The Asylum, the movie takes a cheeseball martial arts actor in Dacascos (was Don “The Dragon” Wilson not available?), puts him in someone’s hippy cabin in Ojai, and surrounds him with bad sound effects, semi-decent undead makeup, and clumsy zombie actors. Seriously, you could blow these guys over with a bunny fart. In order to avoid paying the Matheson estate any royalty fees or providing the audience with entertainment, the film doesn’t bother with explaining how everyone turned into zombies nor delving into the novel’s premise that the Renchard/Neville character was responsible for the plague that ended the world. Despite this shallowness, the movie retains a bit of B-movie, direct-to-video charm. But what started off as a fully aware rip-off soon degenerates into a simple action story with a few zombie attacks thrown in for good measure and a spectacularly awful CGI destruction of L.A. On the plus side, Dacascos and company put in well-meaning performances and roundhouse kicks suitable for the cheese factor. I haven’t seen many Asylum films (and there are several more scheduled in this month’s Planet Tremendo), but despite its periodic cheapness, on a technical level, I Am Omega is probably the most polished work to date from this funny, defiant, little movie company.

No comments: