Omega Man


A solid post-apocalyptic flick

Plot Summary: A plague caused by the apocalyptic war kills off most of humanity. A lone man of science wars against a band of psychotic religious fanatics by night and searches for other survivors by day.

Another in the series of post-apocalyptic fare (see A Boy and His Dog for another weirder, but equally good offering) I’ve been enjoying of late, The Omega Man focuses on a handful of colorful characters. It also has a solid plot, not usual in this genre: after all, most of the time the survivors are grubbing around in blasted lands and shattered towns.

Doctor Robert Neville (Heston) is seemingly a lone survivor of culture and technology, driving around by day collecting food, water, and searching for other people, holing up in his penthouse flat by night to avoid the psychotic religious fanatics who wish to kill him. He is more than a little stir crazy, talking to a statue (and himself) frequently. But I suppose anyone would in his shoes.

Those who wish to kill him are survivors of the plague that was unleashed in the war. They all have white skin and strange eyes. They hate technology, fearing it for what it brought to the world. And the plague apparently sent them off the deep end, mentally. They are led by Matthias, a charismatic figure, whose right-hand man Zachary is particularly hateful of Neville, and more to the point doesn’t mind using technology against the doctor.

Neville avoids these crazies for the first half, but eventually he is captured. He is rescued by Lisa, a spirited young woman who leads a rag-tag collection of young people and children. Can Neville develop a cure to the plague? And can he get past the fanatics and/or offer it to them in friendship?

I won’t give the plot away, of course. I will say that this is a good film, solid in acting and plot, good in location and the feel of an empty city. Heston’s character goes through all the things that any normal human would in his circumstance: act out buying clothing and goods in broken-down stores, steal cars for joy rides, and such.

Of course the plot does catch up with us, but a goodly portion of the movie wisely focuses on these little things in life that would keep anyone going in such a grim world.

I definitely recommend this one for lovers of the genre, and sci-fi buffs as well. 3 stars.

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