in I am Legend (2007), Robert Neville is a lieutenant in the military and a brilliant scientist. Throughout the movie Robert carries a semi-automatic rifle. There are two scenes where he must use a sidearm. One is when his canine companion battles 3 Krippin-infected dogs. The second is in the house during the invasion.

Are there any commentaries that explain why Neville didn't carry a secondary firearm on his person? The motivation of the Zombie dogs vs. Dog scene rushing to the truck for a gun seemed misguided.

  • Is there any reason to think he didn't have a sidearm in his bag, or tucked into his trousers?
    – Longshanks
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 7:38
  • 1
    A long gun/rifle is only useful in so many situations, obviously you don't want to go through a door barrel first. This is why people saw down their shotguns, to make them useful in tight spaces.
    – Dannie
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 10:02
  • @Longshanks The whole movie it's not on his person. Seems odd giving the circumstances. I get the suspense of making it back to the vehicle for it, but why not already have it on you for oh $#!+ situations?
    – Re'eh
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 15:31
  • 4
    @Re'eh A fair point. However it's worth noting that he mistook a shop mannequin for a real person at one stage. Perhaps after so long in isolation, his judgment was beginning to lapse and he simply left it behind.
    – Longshanks
    Commented Apr 4, 2017 at 16:14

1 Answer 1


Psychological deterioration, due to prolonged isolation

In this interview, when asked about inspirations from other films, Will Smith said:

What we were trying to do was to completely remove genre; so let’s look at the psychological deterioration of the character and let’s make the small art film version of this movie and then put all of the other elements – the blockbuster packaging – around it.

So he feels that the character is struggling to cope with the situation.

However, later in the same interview he says:

We did research with people that had been in solitary confinement and the two things that came out were that everything has to be scheduled. Even if it’s I’m going to clean my nails from 9 to 9.45, and then from 9.45 to 10.30 I’m going to look at the ceiling.

The above quote might suggest that someone like Robert (i.e. military background) should have had a sidearm with him.

Speculation alert:

Robert Neveille tries to maintain a routine (going to the bridge, working out, researching etc.), but is still fighting against isolation in a world he is trying to fix.

He makes several lapses in judgement (thinking the mannequin is real, getting caught in his own trap), and it seems reasonable that one day he simply forgot to take his sidearm.

  • 1
    Your comment earlier and answer are brilliant. Never considered deterioration. I'll also note that the lack of the side arm played well into the "ditch genre" routine.
    – Re'eh
    Commented Apr 8, 2017 at 0:03

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