I AM LEGEND
The Abridged Script
EXT. NEW YORK CITY
WILL SMITH walks around the deserted NEW YORK CITY.
WILL hunts for animals poorly and generally collects resources for his home, which is an old house with secured windows rather than, say, an abandoned military base.
Well, it sure does suck being the only survivor of a disease that wiped out most of the human population. It's a good thing I have an unexplained immunity.
WILL SMITH'S DOG
At least I have a dog around, so that I have someone around to talk to and the first hour of the movie isn't complete silence.
WILL SMITH'S DOG
I should also set up mannequins everywhere so that I can pretend they are people. It'll be just like those scenes from Castaway where Tom Hanks befriended the volleyball, except my worn-out Fresh Prince sassy shtick will play it up for laughs.
Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!
WILL walks around more of NEW YORK, mostly so we can see how empty it is because AMERICAN AUDIENCES didn't grasp it when it happened to LONDON in 28 DAYS LATER.
Damn, Times Square is now filthy, covered in garbage, and overrun with animals willing to kill each other to survive.
I guess it's pretty much the same.
In the background is a poster for a Superman/Batman crossover film, which is the highlight of the movie.
Suddenly, WILL'S DOG runs into a dark building.
Oh no! My one best friend ran into a building infested with vampires or zombies or monsters or something! You'd think I'd have trained him better than that, given the fact that I've had three years to do so!
WILL goes in after his dog to rescue it. We finally see the MONSTERS, which are apparently grayish brown blobs in semi-human shapes.
WILL and his dog return home. WILL SMITH checks what he is supposed to do next by reading the "I Am Legend" novel.
It says here that I'm now supposed to go around killing vampires at night while they sleep, but that it turns out a bunch of the vampires managed to hold off the infection and are just regular people that look like vampires. Thus, rather than vampires being the evil stalkers of the night killing innocent children in their beds, it is I who have become the deadly evil.
WILL SMITH grabs a stake and some garlic before nightfall, but then notices that he is on the cover of TIME magazine.
Oh wait, this magazine says that I'm actually a scientist and I helped create this virus by accident, giving me a strong social responsibility to find a cure. And everyone who is infected is an evil zombie vampire thing, so there's no moral ambiguity about my role after all. What a wonderfully common premise!
The movie turns into a mindless action/horror flick, trading suspense for cheap scares and story for explosions.
So basically this movie has turned into a tired remake of 28 Days Later, but in New York and with shitty special effects. Pretty much the only thing this movie accomplishes is needlessly using the title from the I Am Legend novel, so that nobody can take the far more interesting story it contains and make an actual adaptation of it for a long, long time. Great.
WILL SMITH falls for a trap set up by a monster, indicating they are actually intelligent, fully contradicting everything else in the movie and making it extremely clear how many rewrites the script has gone through.
In the process, WILL SMITH'S DOG dies, giving him absolutely nobody to talk to. Saddened, he decides to kill himself by being eaten by vampires. Because if you're going to kill yourself, you may as well make it the most painful, terrifying suicide possible.
Suddenly, SOME GIRL, ALICE BRAGA, shows up and saves him. She is accompanied by SOME KID, CHARLIE TAHAN, who is probably either ALICE'S SON or BROTHER, but they are so unimportant that the movie doesn't bother explaining which.
I am a survivor. I have come because of your radio message. We should go to the survivor's colony together. I believe it is a sign from God that I just happened to show up the day after your dog died.
Sign from God? No, the filmmakers are terrified of the idea that I'd be carrying the movie based solely on my emoting ability. Without my dog around, I had nobody to make wisecracks to, so they wrote you in.
WILL SMITH defends his brick-and-wood house against an invasion of vampires. Surprisingly, this goes POORLY.
We have to get to my lab! I've been working on a cure for the disease so I can turn the monsters back into normal humans!
They're supposed to be human? I thought they were just generic monsters. If they are supposed to be people, why didn't we just use skinny people in makeup? Why did we bother going the CGI route with such embarrassingly poor special effects?
That's not important. What's important is that I'm a big, important scientist as well as a top military official and I'm going to find a cure.
What? The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as a military drone I can buy, but a top scientist? I find all the vampire shit more believable.
I MUST find a cure. It has been extremely important to me ever since my wife and child died.
How tragic! They must have been killed by vampires or turned into vampires or something, given how important it is to you that you find a cure.
Close. They died in a completely unrelated helicopter crash. It has virtually nothing to do with the actual plot of the movie.
This movie is stupid as hell.
Now that's what I'm talkin' 'bout!
ALICE, CHARLIE, and WILL are cornered in WILL'S LABORATORY, which has been reinforced with the strength of glass. MONSTERS try and break in.
I suddenly remember some random thing my kid said to me before the helicopter crash which indicates to me that I should care about Alice even though I already care about her. Clearly I'll have to sacrifice myself.
WILL pulls the pin from a grenade and runs into a throng of MONSTERS, killing himself along with a bunch of MONSTERS that he wanted to cure instead of kill just 1 hour ago. The force of the explosion against ALICE AND CHARLIE'S hiding place shatters their bones, and the resulting fire robs them of any oxygen in the underground lair, seemingly resulting in their painful death.
Somehow, they live. And they manage to drive to the survivor's colony. And they find a cure. Everything turns out AWESOME.
ALICE BRAGA (V.O.)
If you are sitting through the movie just to find out if there's ever any kind of justification for the grammatical disaster that titles this film, you're not going to get it. Even the title sucks. I Am Legend.
The movie finishes and a DVD screener leaks to the internet, indicating the filmmakers were circulating the film for Oscar consideration. This is fucking HYSTERICAL.
Rod has been an author at The Editing Room for 17 years. You can support Rod and the rest of the site on Patreon.
Rod is the founder of The Editing Room, having started the web site in 1998 after seeing "Godzilla" and being compelled to express his hatred. He's written the bulk of Abridged Scripts on the site, many of which have appeared in Total Film magazine and Cracked.com