Monday, February 28, 2011

I Am Omega and Kicking Your Way Through Infection: A Movie Review

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Director: Griff Furst.

Writer: Richard Matheson and Geoff Meed.

You know you are cheap when you find yourself rooting around bargain bins for the best horror deals. Sometimes, this characteristic pays off and that is the case with The Midnight Horror Collection: Flesh Eating Zombies. This late 2010 release offers four features for under ten dollars. Included in this film anthology are Grave Mistake, Awaken the Dead, Last of the Living and the film reviewed here, I Am Omega. Echo Bridge Entertainment re-released each of these films for fans of the undead on celluloid August, 2010.

I Am Omega is one of The Asylum's mockbusters, which attempted to capitalize on the looming success of I Am Legend, starring Will Smith. Both films were released within a month of each other and this film is another action film based on Richard Matheson's novel, I Am Legend. Like an '80s action throwback, I Am Omega seems to transcend its meager six figure budget in make-up and story, while offering B-movie fans something substantial to chew on.

This reviewer is admittedly a B-movie fan; so, I Am Omega will appeal to those who like something off of center, or even off kilter. Moving on, the plotline in I Am Omega is similar in structure to the film that it is attempting to exploit, I Am Legend. A former military man lies holed up in the mountains outside of an unnamed, large metropolitan center in the state of California. Here, he lives in isolation, as his psyche breaks down under the dual stress of losing his young son and wife to a vicious attack, while aloneness offers its own problems. A misfire of the streptococcus bacterial strain has ravaged humanity, leaving few survivors. Renchard (Mark Dacascos) is one of those few. But now, the world is full of those infected with a biological agent.

One of the highlights of this 2007 production is the make-up effects by Tara Lang. The dozens of green scaled antagonists look like something from a swampy abyss. They drip fluids and these creatures are ever promising to infect Renchard and later, his anarchist friends. Once the settings darken, you can see the interaction between Alexander Yellen's cinematography and Lang's use of lighting to intensify the horror displayed on her grotesque creations.

Returning to the plot, Renchard groups up with two anarchists, under duress, to rescue a young woman, trapped in what is obviously Los Angeles. Renchard is the only character to make his way to this new destination, as Mike (Ryan Lloyd) is offed with a clawed strike and Vincent (Geoff Meed) retreats to greener pastures. There is a meeting between the hero and a burgeoning heroine, while Vincent later turns from friend to foe. Enter in the destruction of LA, through a timed, eugenic intended explosive and a final martial arts inspired climax and here, you have I Am Omega and the subplots wrapped in a nice blood dripping bow.

The action is another expert element within the film. Actors Dacascos and Meed show some knowledge for martial arts, as their interactions are often violent and full of spin-kicks, high kicks etc. Central character Renchard is written as if from an '80s action film, where action stars speak little and they smile even less. The fighting between those uninfected (Renchard, Vincent, Mike and Brianna) and the infected is well-choreographed, with some of those dispatched re-appearing again and again, in strange fashion. This is an action genre fans delight, while I Am Omega might appeal to B-movie and zombie horror sub-genre fans, also.

As stated earlier, I Am Omega re-released with three other titles as part of The Midnight Horror Collection: Flesh Eating Zombies anthology in August 2010. The package that this thrifty reviewer picked up was for five dollars, making each of these films equivalent to the price of a chocolate bar. So, there is value here, but there is, more importantly, entertainment. Look for this one on your undead horizons and read a review of another film in this undead grouping here (Last of the Living Review).

Overall: 6.75 out of 10 (some continuity errors, lots of action, some good character writing).

I Am Omega at The Asylum:

I Am Omega w/Alternate Poster Art

The Midnight Horror Collection: Flesh Eating Zombies came with Last of the Living, Grave Mistake, Awaken the Dead and I Am Omega, respectively:

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