Featuring special guest reviewer Lindsay Cashin!
So, following on from all the hooplah that surrounded the films controversial beginnings (if you don’t know what they are, we’re not getting into it here cos it’ll take too long, but lets quickly say that it was originally known as Tonight He Comes and would’ve been NC-17), Will Smith’s latest mega-expensive comes on the back of very little hype, as his unknown superhero gets released in the midst of big green meanies and men who like to dress up as bats or in iron.
Directed by Peter Berg, who seems to be Hollywood’s hack version of Paul Greengrass, and we mean that in the nicest possible way, but there’s only one person working right now that seems capable of shooting in “shaky-cam” and still have it look glossy and costly. On the back of edgy action flick The Kingdom he was brought on board this edgy action flick after Michael Mann (Heat) baulked at the budget but who now features as executive producer, which features Will Smith waking up in a hospital after a severe blow to head and now featuring super strength and the ability of flight. After spending several years doing the hero thing, he becomes an degenerate alcoholic through boredom, and after one public outcry one too many in reaction to his city destroying heroism, in steps Jason Bateman as a PR-man who makes it his one man campaign to change public opinion of the misunderstood and underappreciated super-man. Of course, things get a bit hairy as Bateman is married to Charlize Theron, who Hancock develops a serious crush on.
To say anything more about the plot would give away some interesting twists in the basic story, but needless to say it goes down a very entertaining route. Thankfully, Berg tossed out most of what made the original pitch so dark, and brought in a lighter, but still very cynical sense of humour, thanks mainly to Smith in a rare anti-hero mode, not to mention Bateman who can make most people laugh with the slightest facial twitch. Theron is underused for most of the movie, in terms of acting and general asthectic purposes.
The action sequences are very well done, the CGI is practically top notch, everyone’s acting is on-par, blah blah. But there’s still something missing, but something that is hard to put your finger on. For one thing, its too short, at just about 90 minutes, so either they lost alot of footage in the editing room, or they just squeezed too much story into too short a time. And there’s no big bad boo hiss villian. Whereas with more recognisible superhero movies this summer we’ve had Iron Monger, Abomination and soon to be Joker and Two Face, this film was already at a loss with not having a big name bad guy. But to not really have one at all is kind of a mis-step.
Apart from all of that, its still one of the better summer blockbusters so far, easily side-stepping some of the pre-existing franchises in terms of quality and scope. And its very open ended for a sequel, and if nothing else, fans of this one will be baying for the next one.
Seven Point Five Out Of Ten