Hancock (Will Smith) has attitude, drinks a bit, looks like a hobo but has super powers. However, his hamfisted way of getting the job done and save countless lives always leaves massive damage in his wake. Grateful as they are, the folks of Los Angeles are getting fed up with him. Not that Hancock cares - until the day that he saves the life of PR executive Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman), and the sardonic superhero begins to realize that he may have a decent and vulnerable side after all. Facing that will be Hancock's greatest challenge yet - and a task that may prove impossible as Ray's wife, Mary (Charlize Theron), insists that he's a lost cause.
Review by Louise Keller:
Everyone loves Will Smith. What's not to love? He's everyone's hero and here he plays a superhero with a difference: his John Hancock is a gruff, heavy drinking, rude, unpopular lout who helps uphold the law - ungraciously. We think we know where the story is heading when Jason Bateman's PR consultant Ray Embrey ('I want to change the world') gives him an image makeover, but we are wrong. I love surprises and would happily be led up the garden path with Will Smith, but there's a fatal flaw to Hancock, with alien-sized plot holes and worse still, characters behaving out of context. As a result, this big budget Will Smith action movie is certain to divide audiences and for the most part leave them wanting.
There's something appealing about the converse philosophy of a reluctant superhero who is a pain in the neck. Smith's Hancock zooms through the air faster than a speeding bullet, is certainly more powerful than a locomotive as he flings cars, truck and trains high in the air, but makes rather messy landings and has a way of irritating the world at large, big time. The 'taming of Hancock' provides the film's funniest and most entertaining moments as Ray convinces him to conform, dress according to his superhero status and go to group therapy sessions with a circle of prison thugs. When Ray's house is half demolished from 'a sneeze', things go seriously wrong with the script. Achoo. Bless you. Screenwriters Vincent Ngo and Vince Gilligan seem to have forgotten that while superheroes can do anything, we mortals behave in certain ways, and we need to believe in what the characters are doing or we can be wrenched out of the movie.
Smith is as good as ever as the larger-than-life misfit of a superhero and Charlize Theron is well cast as the caring wife and mother who makes a connection with Hancock. Bateman is especially credible in the first half and I like Eddie Marsan as Red, the dastardly evil crim. There's plenty of action and director Peter Berg makes good use of the close up. Fate, fallibility, mortality, power transference and doing what one does best are issues that are canvassed, but for me, instead of lighting up the sky, the movie fizzles like a wet sparkler.
Available on single disc DVD, double-disc and blu-ray edition, special features include The Making of Hancock, featurettes and more.
Published November 20, 2008
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HANCOCK: DVD (M)
CAST: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, Jae Head, Eddie Marsan, David Mattey, Maetrix Fitten, Thomas Lennon, Johnny Galecki,
PRODUCER: Akiva Goldsman, James Lassiter, Michael Mann, Will Smith
DIRECTOR: Peter Berg
SCRIPT: Vincent Ngo, Vince Gilligan
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tobias A. Schliessler
EDITOR: Colby Parker Jr., Paul Rubell
MUSIC: John Powell
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Neil Spisak
RUNNING TIME: 92 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 3, 2008
SPECIAL FEATURES: Single Disc Edition: Superhumans: The Making of HANCOCK, Featurettes: Pre-visualisation, Bank Robbery Scene, The SUV Chase, Hancock Meets Ray Hancock in Jail, Mary vs Hancock, Liquor Store Shoot Out, Hospital Fight, Building a Better Hero, Bumps and Bruises and Mere Mortals: Behind the Scenes with 'Dirty Pete'; Two Disc Extended Limited Edition + blue-ray edition: as per single disc plus Steelbook, Superhumans, and Home Life: Suiting Up.
DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Sony
DVD RELEASE: November 19, 2008