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1971 - 98m.

I am torn between enjoying this movie for being a fun and dated 70's sci-fi movie and comparing it to one of my favorite horror stories. The story is "I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson and the movie does not do it justice as it takes away all of the things that made the book so great. I will warn you now, if you have read and enjoyed "I Am Legend", you will probably not like The Omega Man. If you have not read the book, you may enjoy the flick as a fine bit of 70's cheese.

Charlton Heston stars as Robert Neville and turns in a typical Heston performance with his unique line deliveries being amplified as for the first half of the movie he is almost completely alone and talks to himself quite a bit. It appears as though the human race has decimated itself through mass germ warfare and Neville is seemingly the last man on earth. He is a scientist who happened to discover an antidote the virus on the eve of destruction and inject himself with it. The world now consists of Neville driving the deserted streets of Los Angeles doing whatever pretty much whatever he wants during daylight hours. When the night falls, however, things change and Neville needs to haul ass back to his pad before the 'Family' come out. This is a clan of creepy looking mutants who have survived the war but have a few problems including white hair, white skin, sensitive eyes, and an extreme aversion to the light that requires them to wear cloaks so that they resemble large Jawas. The group is led by a guy named Matthias (Anthony Zerbe) who looks like Richard Harris and leads them in their nightly activities that include terrorizing Neville by yelling at him and launching flame balls at his window. Eventually, Neville meets up with some other survivors who are also infected but not at the 'family' level yet. They try to come up with a new antidote so that together they can save mankind.

Of Heston's big three classic late 60's/early 70's sci-fi movies that included this one, Planet Of The Apes, and Soylent Green, I found The Omega Man to be the weakest. There were some decent action scenes and plot twists but I found the entire story to drag a little (possibly due uninteresting direction and possibly to due with the fact that as an adult, I didn't find 'The Family' to be terribly menacing). Something about the black albino (Lincoln Kilpatrick) with the white afro in shades and a cloak being the main henchman also seemed a little out of place to me. Add to that the fact that nobody seemed motivated and Matthias' resentment towards Neville is not explained in much detail and you have a movie where most of the characters just seem to be coasting along. Things pick up considerably when Rosalind Cash and Paul Koslo (Mr. Majestyk) show up but the damage has already been done as this viewer didn't feel much of a connection to Neville and was more interested in the music and the action than what happened to the characters. This is never a good thing. I would recommend that you read Matheson's book instead for a better take on what it would be like to be the last man on Earth.

Director Boris Sagal mainly did TV work in his career and this was his only feature of note. His daughter is Katey Sagal from Married, With Children. He died in 1982 when he walked into a helicopter blade in front of the hotel from The Shining. (Josh Pasnak, 3/12/05)

Directed By: Boris Sagal.
Written By: Joyce H. Corrington, John William.

Starring: Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash, Paul Koslo.