The year is 1977. The world has been devastated by germ warfare, destroying nearly all of humanity. Everyone, that is, except for Robert Neville, the last man on earth. Neville stalks the streets of Los Angeles, killing the nocturnal mutants that the plague has created. THE OMEGA MAN is the second of three film adaptations of Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, this time starring the legendary Charlton Heston. A product of its time, THE OMEGA MAN has earned itself a huge cult following with 1970's SciFi enthusiasts, but in the forty years since its release, it has aged rather poorly. Heston's hammy acting aside, the costuming, make-up, and often corny performances of "The Family" have all given way to a high level of camp that borders dangerously close to B-Movie cheese. Boris Sagal creates a series of impressive establishing shots taken from the deserted city streets of downtown Los Angeles, a devastating collection of images that set the foreboding tone for the rest of the picture. He also delivers several explosive action sequences between Neville and his medieval rivals, while playing into the reversal of the classical vampire myth that Matheson had originally shaped in the written version. Much of the paranoia and schizophrenia found in Neville's character do shine through in Heston's performance, although Anthony Zerbe steals the spotlight in an admirable role as the lead cultist Matthias. However silly many of the other elements of the film may be, it is impossible to deny the raw power of the shocking and downtrodden ending. THE OMEGA MAN will continue to live on as a classic in the Post-Apocalyptic/SciFi genres regardless of time's harsh treatment of the film, and it is still an important watch for both SciFi and Horror fans.
If you liked THE OMEGA MAN, check out:
28 DAYS LATER, I AM LEGEND, THE LAST MAN ON EARTH.