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    Hancock Review

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    Bretteo
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    Hancock Review

    Post by Bretteo on Fri Jul 11, 2008 8:52 pm



    Hancock will not be remembered as Will Smith's finest moment. It's also - by some distance - his least family-friendly summer blockbuster. Smith has come through difficult patches before and remained the world's most bankable movie star (even The Wild Wild West took over $100m at the US box office), so this is probably a blip rather than an Eddie Murphy-style early 90s meltdown.

    The film does at least have an engaging premise: what if there was a superhero who just wasn't that bothered? Smith is said character: a boozing lowlife called Hancock who just happens to have the ability to chase down and destroy all of the bad guys in Los Angeles. His angst and world-weariness is a good central hook.

    But what's not good is the execution, and for several reasons. Firstly the plot: laborious and high concept, it requires several major acceptances on behalf of the audience. Hancock hooks up (in a series of ongoing coincidences) with PR guru Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman) who decides that he needs a makeover in order to make him more appealing to the Angelenos who are growing tired of his drunken capers. Ray has a wife (Charlize Theron) who has some sort of 'connection' with Hancock.

    Then there are the jokes: this is by no means as funny a film as it would like to be. The comedic highlight sees Hancock insert one of the bad guys into another one's 'ass'. This doesn't help another problem which is Smith's performance. Normally so charismatic, here he is reduced to a one-sneer range - there's not that much to like about Smith's character or the way he portrays it.

    It would be easy to blame all of this on Peter Berg's direction, but it's clear that many hands have conspired to turn this into something of a dog's dinner. Some simple googling will yield early reviews of the film which make it clear that it has been butchered in the editing room in the last few weeks, and not for the better. It has one of the most one-dimensional villains in recent Hollywood history (an unfortunate mainstream debut for the usually excellent Eddie Marsan) and halfway through it turns into a completely different film.

    Given the film's difficult origins - it has passed over the desks of everyone who is anyone in Hollywood in the last ten years - it would have been wiser for all concerned to pass again. But as it stands, it's a pretty good example of Hollywood excess in 2008.

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