Sunday, June 25, 2006
The Omega Man (1971)
Charlton Heston escapes from the Planet of the Apes (1968) only to crash land in a deserted Los Angeles, following some kind of nuclear/plague apocalypse. He's the only dude around, long as you don't count that torch-carrying, monk-robed band of mutated survivors who call themselves "the Family" (no relation to the Mansons), and you might as well not, because they blame Heston for the whole nuclear/plague-apocalypse-thing, and are hell-bent on rewarding him with some old fashioned murder. But, thanks to the plague-thing, they can only emerge at night, so Heston can spend the daylight hours joyriding in hotwired Mustang convertibles and looting stores for fashionable track suits. Sundown, he holes up in a fortified brownstone and plays chess with a concrete bust of Caesar while the Family taunts him from the streets below; tip o' the hat to the NRA as Heston occasionally opens a window and answers with sub-machine gun fire. Damn dirty apes, no matter where you go. Based on Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, but without proper vampires or amazing ironic twist ending (nor even Vincent Price) this is a sour, defeatist exercise, especially when the third act turns up a small clutch of other human survivors who seem to exist only so they can screw up their chances. Cold dead hands, indeed.