The Omega Man (1971)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Sci-Fi Action, Sci-Fi Disaster Film  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Lucia Bozzola

Entertainingly cheesy, The Omega Man is another entry in Charlton Heston's toothy last-man-standing science fiction phase, à la Planet of the Apes (1968) and Soylent Green (1973). Adapted from Richard Matheson's I Am Legend with key 1970s differences, the dystopian story of one man's fight to save humanity features intentionally and unintentionally striking images of arch-conservative Heston tooling around an uninhabited Los Angeles in convertibles and mistily taking in a screening of Woodstock (1970) when not battling monkish Ray Ban-wearing zombies. While the near-complete elimination of the population via germ warfare serves as a still-timely warning regarding technology and its abuses, the Luddite albino mutants with their Charles Manson-esque murderous allegiance to "the Family" become a reverse lesson in technophobia. As the one survivor blessed with immune blood, Heston trades Biblical role models on his way to a fate and final image audacious in its hubris. Though this second screen version of Matheson's novel was hardly a blockbuster, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ridley Scott were set to shoot a third until it was deemed too expensive.