Set in a future Earth (2035 A.D.) where robots are common assistants and workers for their human owners, this is the story of "robotophobic" Chicago Police Detective Del Spooner's investigation into the murder of Dr. Alfred Lanning, who works at U.S. Robotics, in which a robot, Sonny , appears to be implicated, even though that would mean the robot had violated the Three Laws of Robotics, which is apparently impossible. It seems impossible because.. if robots can break those laws, there's nothing to stop them from taking over the world, as humans have grown to become completely dependent upon their robots. Or maybe... they already have? Aiding Spooner in his investigation is a psychologist, Dr. Susan Calvin, who specializes in the psyches of robots. Written by
Instead of opening credits, the beginning of the movie features Isaac Asimov's 3 Laws of Robotics: LAW I. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm. LAW II. A robot must obey orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law. LAW III. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law. See more »
Like the Matrix and many other major movies, I, Robot has its foundations in philosophy, in its case the question of epistemology(The study of knowledge itself and computers being self-aware).
Will Smith is Spooner, a cop with an apparent attitude problem. Set in the future, I Robot sees Spooner embarking on a puzzling case of suicide where he believes it was actually murder. By a robot.
In this future society (With more than a homage to Blade Runner) robots are used as slaves of humans in all facets of life. They have 3 rules of conduct hard coded into them which essentially state they cannot harm humans. So the postulation by Spooner that a robot killed a man after a history where no robot had ever committed so much as a mugging presents a big problem to both his peers and his boss.
Suffice to say the story's plot thickens and a number of twists and turns emerge before the truth is revealed.
Will Smith is an absolute surprise here. Having previously been a light-hearted comedy actor he puts in a truly excellent and believable shift as a wise-cracking cop with a dark past.
However, the real star is the special effects and visual trickery. Impossible but ingenious camerawork and some jawdropping animation really make I, Robot feel truly alive and utterly believable, while never being dull for a second.
It arguably doesn't delve too deep into its philosophical undertones, but it doesn't really need to. It's a traditional Hollywood blockbuster action flick but it unquestionably has a brain and is a clear cut above the likes of Armageddon et al.
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