The Omega Man

Film Review – The Omega Man (1971)

OK, I think it’s time for a little honesty. I think that it is important for people to declare any prior interest in a subject that they review or pass comment on, in the interest of impartiality. To that end, I must make two qualifying points before I commence talking about this film. Firstly, I am drunk. I believe that it is a culturally acceptable form of drunkeness, in that I have quaffed most of a bottle of Chateâuneuf-du-Pape and had some generic Spanish red wine with dinner, all of which means that I am at least as qualified to pontificate about films as the next man. Secondly, in the interest of being completely honest I must point out that before I watched The Omega Man, I already thought that Charlton Heston was a complete cock-end, and my opinion hasn’t changed during the experience.

Alright then, now we’ve got that business out of the way I can proceed to the meat and two veg of the review. Christ, this was a shite film. I was really looking forward to it, having heard good things about the basic tale behind it (I Am Legend) – no, stop thinking about Woll Smoth and his tiny mouth, the original book is deemed a classic (though I haven’t read it so it could be terrible). This is one of those films that I’ve always intended to watch but never seem to have caught at the right time, but this evening I was snowed in and I’d had a few, so I thought the time was ripe to give it a try.

It opens with a scene of Mr Heston driving through a deserted city in a cool convertible, shooting badly at a shadow, and then inexplicably crashing said convertible despite there being no other cars on the road. He looks at the tyre as if that is to blame but already I’m thinking that this is lazy film making disguising a poor screenplay. Some more badly cut scenes pad out the film until he meets a woman who turns out to be some kind of cookie-cutter Jackie Brown style Nubian afro-toting lady.  She is initially hostile but soon falls for Mr Heston (and who wouldn’t?) with his rictus grin and his appalling chat-up lines about being the last boy on Earth, despite there clearly being several other less annoying/racist/skeletal faced boys who they have both seen not five minutes earlier.

Then some more 1970’s style dialogue (he actually calls her ‘baby’ at least once) leads to some more boring racist scenes and eventually Charlton gets semi-crucified, not once but TWICE, as if you didn’t get the subtle message the first time. Some of the subplots involved include ‘if you trust black people, they will turn on you’ and ‘hippies are a waste of space’. I confess, I wasn’t alive in 1971 but surely it’s stretching belief somewhat to say that all black people had a Fro and spoke like Shaft? There’s an odd feel about this whole film, sort of like they think they’re being really progressive in having black people in it (and Charlton KISSES one for God’s sake although he doesn’t look best pleased about it) but actually the way they’re played is even more racist than if they’d just not bothered at all.

I could go on but what’s the use? This was basically racist shite that didn’t provide anything to me other than an excuse to vent spleen on the Interwebs. Things have moved on, thank fuck. Don’t bother watching this film. Final disclaimer – if you are a massive racist or just somehow didn’t understand what I just said, feel free to click the link below to buy this film and earn me some affiliate cash. You’re welcome.

The Omega Man [DVD] [1971]


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