I, Robot

Director: Alex Proyas
Year Released: 2004
Rating: 3.0

A B-movie blessed with A-movie production values and a relentless approach to action - the stock characters and ludicrous dialogue are masked by glossiness, a few good ideas and better-than-expected CGI. It pilfers freely from sci-fi films of the past, like Blade Runner and 2001 - from the former you get its quasi-cybernetic hero and robots' fear of death, from the latter you have a runaway program (this movie's HAL is called VIKI); it also tries to wax philosophical on fear of a mass revolution by the 'lower class' servants (the robots, built to aid the humans). Certainly not the worst of its kind; I'm almost tempted to call it a pleasant surprise for 2004, with so many dreary popcorn movies wasting our collective time. Proyas, best known for Dark City and The Crow, has a real knack for commercial fare with a brain; Shia LaBeouf continues to be a revelation.