Top 10 Will Smith Movies
Considering you could almost bank on Will Smith releasing at least one movie a year more often or not two, it's been a bit quiet from the man who won us over in the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". The good news is that whilst his last movie was in 2008 Will Smith hasn't forgotten the world of movies and acted as producer on "The Karate Kid" which stars his son Jaden as Dre Parker. But more importantly he will be back on our screens again in 2012 with a third movie in the "Men in Black" series. So in the mean time here is my Top Ten Will Smith Movies to fill in the time before we get more alien bashing Will Smith style.
10) The Legend of Bagger Vance (2000)
Rannulph Junnah (Matt Damon) was the best golfer in Savannah and he was dating the attractive Adele Invergordon (Charlize Theron) daughter of a wealthy landowner. That is until Junnah heads off to war and returns to Savannah a changed man, a shadow of himself. But when Adele is pressurised to sell the golf course she inherited along with debts after her father committed suicide, she decides to host the greatest golf match ever played to raise the cash. With golf legends Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen agreeing to play the folks of Savannah want a local representative and demand Junnah plays. Struggling to find the swing which made him a great player it looks like Junnah has lost his ability. That is until the mysterious Bagger Vance (Will Smith) shows up and offers to caddy for him and in doing so helping him discover the golf swing he once had.
Although I like "The Legend of Bagger Vance" I have to admit that the storyline is complete and utter fairytale hokum, with a lot of emphasis on dream like golf and mysticism. But put aside the golfing hokum and you have Will Smith who delivers, charm, humour and nostalgia as the mysterious Bagger Vance. Even when Smith has to deliver some nonsense dialogue about finding the game he does it in such a convincing, charming manner that you forget that the storyline is a bit airy fairy.
9) Men in Black (1997)
Unbeknown to everyone there is a special agency known as MiB whose job it is to manage the aliens which come to our planet. When James Darrel Edwards III finds himself giving chase to a criminal with some strange abilities he is introduced to the MiB and finds himself becoming one when Agent Kay recruits him turning him into the slick talking agent Jay. As Jay and Kay set about investigating some strange behaviour they discover that an alien terrorist is on earth looking to assassinate an ambassador from another planet. With the threat of Earth being blown up by the warring planets Jay and Kay must stop the alien terrorist in his tracks.
Here comes the "Men in Black", not only did Will Smith score a box office success with "Men in Black" but he also got a chart success with the movies main song, just a shame the sequel wasn't so good and hopefully the next sequel will be much better. But anyway "Men in Black" is Will Smith doing what he does so well delivering comedy and action in equal measures. From the comedy partnership of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, through to all the action Smith basically delivers time and time again in every single scene.
8) Hancock (2008)
John Hancock has super powers and often tries to put them to good use, yet his love of alcohol and an almost clumsiness makes him enemy number one as he leaves a trail of destruction whenever he tries to do a good turn. But when he saves the life of Ray Embrey, a public relations guy, he finds himself a new best friend who can see that Hancock's heart is in the right place and sets about turning him into a hero rather than a villain. But when Ray introduces Hancock to his son Aaron and wife Mary there is suddenly a strange sense of feeling between him and Mary as she doesn't want him in their home.
So first up "Hancock" the movie just doesn't work, it feels like two separate movies thrown into one making it all a bit messy, but Will Smith as John Hancock does. His badass hero who does what he likes is just brilliant and with Will Smith delivering over the top bad ass-ness it's pure comedy. Even when Hancock tries to clean up his act Smith makes him amusing. It's just a shame when the second half of the movie kicks in all the fun is lost and although Will Smith still delivers its hard going.
7) I, Robot (2004)
It's the year 2035 and much to the annoyance of Chicago Detective Del Spooner (Will Smith) robots and technology have become a part of every day life. When Dr. Alfred Lanning a major part of the U.S. Robotics company which supply many domestic robots is found dead he suspects it was not suicide but murder and worse than murder by a robot. With all robots supposedly programmed by three laws designed to protect humans, Spooner starts to question everything and whether robots have the ability to take over the world.
"I Robot" put simply is Will Smith giving us serious action but in a big over the top way. What do I mean well the early scenes see a pumped up Smith in boxers flexing his muscles and from then on it's action, action and more action from Smith with a bit of almost jive talking in-between as he infuriates everyone and anyone with his anti technology stance. As such it's a big performance from Will Smith in more than one sense and although it's impossible to take his character completely seriously it is very entertaining in an over the top action sort of way.
6) Bad Boys (1995)
Marcus Burnett (Martin Lawrence) a hen pecked husband and Mike Lowery (Will Smith) a ladies man are partners on the Miami police force. When a consignment of drugs is stolen from the stations lock up they are given just 72 hours to track down the robbers and return them. But to complicate matters they are forced to pretend to be each other so that a witness to a crime the gang committed will help.
In many ways "Bad Boys" was Will Smith's first major movie despite having made three big screen appearances before and yet again came whilst he was still delivering his street wise comedy in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air". For many the performance of Will Smith as Mike Lowery is what everyone loves about him, you get a lot of comedy with the witty to and throw dialogue he shares with Martin Lawrence but you also get Will Smith the action figure who looks good running, fires guns and basically throws himself about a bit whilst also looking pumped up. It's an entertaining performance from Will Smith especially as it was vastly different to what we had seen him do before.
5) I Am Legend (2007)
It's the year 2012 and New York city is in ruins after a miracle cure for cancer mutates turning those who become infected into Zombie like being beings. The only remaining survivor is Robert Neville who along with his trusty dog has spent 3 years not only trying to survive but also discover a cure so that if by chance there are others who survived when the city was evacuated he can help them.
"I am Legend" is another one of Will Smith's movies which has ended up splitting audiences thanks to the storyline and the way it has been adapted from Richard Matheson original novel, but the performance from Will Smith transcends the criticism. In a movie which for the most is just Will Smith as Robert Neville it's a magnificent solo performance. Smith creates a character who we watch his emotional rise and fall each day and as such just a look of fear on Smith's face says so much more than 100 words could. Plus "I am Legend" is also part action movie and let's be frank Will Smith is very much a modern action figure capable of doing the big chase and fight sequences.
4) Ali (2001)
"Ali" is the story of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali from 1964 to 1974 covering aspects of his life such as becoming a Black Muslim and changing his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali as well as his friendship with Malcolm X as well as covering his two marriages. But of course "Ali" also focuses on the boxing becoming champion once, his struggle to be allowed to box having refused induction into the US military and regaining the championship.
Now "Ali" is a movie you will either love or hate, for many it focuses on a too narrow part of Muhammad Ali's life and with director Michael Mann almost feeling experimental with his directional style it is close to being the film worlds equivalent of Marmite. But none of that matters when you consider Will Smith's performance as one of the most iconic people of the twentieth century, no easy task at the best of times. But not only did Will Smith bulk up to physically look like Muhammad Ali but he also brought all the great ones mannerisms to the screen from his quick fire verbal barbs through to the way he boxed. It's an impressive performance and another example of why Will Smith is such a capable actor when it comes to drama.
3) Six Degrees of Separation
In New York, art connoisseurs Flan and Ouisa Kittredge (Donald Sutherland & Stockard Channing) are preparing to go out with their rich friend when a young black man turns up at their apartment asking for help having been mugged in Central Park. Introducing himself as Paul, the son of actor Sidney Poitier and a friend of the Kittredge's children from Harvard, he ends up staying preparing a meal for them and telling them tales of his life and father. When the evening ends Flan & Ouisa insist he stays but are shocked when they are woken in the middle of the night to discover Paul is not what he seems. Determined to discover who this young man is they end up investigating him discovering some surprises along the way.
Considering that "Six Degrees of Separation" was made back in 1993 when Will Smith was better known as a comedian in "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" it's impressive to watch him hold his own in a serious movie with a cast which features Donald Sutherland and Stockard Channing. But also it was the fact that here was this funny guy taking on drama, a very wordy drama at that yet still it didn't feel wrong, in fact it almost felt more natural to watch Will Smith charm no just the Kittredge's but also audiences with long and clever monologues than to just fire of a wisecrack or two.
2) Seven Pounds (2008)
Haunted by a secret, Ben Thomas decides to help 7 strangers improving their lives beyond their wildest dreams in the hope it will bring him redemption. When he puts his plans into action to help those 7 he selects nothing will get in his way. But Ben hadn't taken into account that he could fall for one of those he plans to help and he most certainly didn't expect for her to be improving his life.
Before I even get into Will Smith's brilliant performance as Ben Thomas it has to be said that the storyline to "Seven Pounds" will not only leave you drop jawed but it also should be applauded for being brave and different. But as for Will Smith's performance he yet again delivers an amazing emotional performance taking us through a whole list of emotions from happiness through to despair. It's such a convincing program that by the time "Seven Pounds" finishes you feel emotionally shattered, drained by the amount of heart break which Will Smith delivers as Ben.
1) The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Based upon the true story of Chris Gardner who back in the 80s not only found himself struggling for money having invested everything in medicine equipment to sell but also a single dad when his wife leaves him. Pretty much broke and forced to live on the streets seeking sanctuary where ever possible Chris seeks work as a stockbroker but first he must get through a tough 6 month unpaid internship, forcing him to carry on trying to sell medical equipment, study and also look after his young son at the same time.
Not only can I empathise with Chris Gardner's story and found much with in it which I recognize from my own experiences but the emotional performance from Will Smith is absolutely stunning. Smith manages to tap in to the whole emotion and stress of being broke and homeless and various scenes such as sleeping rough in the subway toilets is so emotionally realistic it's heart wrenching. But Smith also shows the inspirational side of things, the work ethic of Gardner which got him out of the mess that "The Pursuit of Happyness" is not only an emotional tale but also an inspiring one.