8. SAM THE GERMAN SHEPHERD IN I AM LEGEND (2007)
When lambasting the uneven I Am Legend, one can’t place any of the blame onto Will Smith. Playing the last man on Earth, Smith is captivating throughout; he’s in pretty much every frame and his performance never wavers. The first half is basically just Smith’s last-man-on-Earth character, Robert Neville, and his loyal German Shepherd companion, Sam; always by Neville’s side and willing to grapple with zombie dogs in order to protect her pal, Sam (sort for Samantha) is the film’s one glimmer of hope. So when (SPOILER ALERT) she dies at the midway point, I Am Legend reaches an emotional high.
Less effectively, however, Sam’s passing also ushers in the movie’s problematic second half. Without our favorite Shepherd since Rin Tin Tin, the filmmakers resort to a generic female (human) sidekick and give the exceptionally lame-looking CGI humanoids more time to shine. In that sense, Sam didn’t “steal” I Am Legend away from Will Smith—she took it with her to that doggie heaven above the clouds.