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  Publicity Stills of
(Courtesy from Columbia TriStar)

Genre: Action/Comedy
Director: Peter Berg
Cast: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, Eddie Marsan, Jae Head, David Mattey, Thomas Lennon, Johnny Galecki, Hayley Marie Norman
RunTime: 1 hr 32 mins
Released By: Columbia TriStar
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/hancock/

Opening Day: 3 July 2008


There are heroes... there are superheroes... and then there's Hancock (Will Smith). With great power comes great responsibility – everyone knows that – everyone, that is, but Hancock. Edgy, conflicted, sarcastic, and misunderstood, Hancock's well-intentioned heroics might get the job done and save countless lives, but always seem to leave jaw-dropping damage in their wake. The public has finally had enough – as grateful as they are to have their local hero, the good citizens of Los Angeles are wondering what they ever did to deserve this guy. Hancock isn't the kind of man who cares what other people think – 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 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.

Movie Review:

While everyone else is focusing on Will Smith’s portrayal as a misunderstood superhero (we can’t deny the fact that the two time Oscar nominee has come a long way since his Fresh Prince of Bel Air days), we shall shift our focus and look at his co-star in this movie instead. And we are talking about Oscar winner Charlize Theron (2003’s Monster). Just when we were wondering what an oh so serious actress like her (her credentials also include other oh so serious movies like In the Valley of Elah and North Country) is doing in an action comedy like this, we were reminded of Theron’s ability to emote really expressively during the last third of this 92 minute movie when she started acting, well, oh so serious.

Unfortunately, this is exactly the problem of this eye boggling special effects extravaganza directed by Peter Berg (The Kingdom, The Rundown). We were expecting to have a laugh a minute summer no brainer with wise cracks from Smith’s flawed and drunk protagonist. But as the plot develops, we get an awkward change in direction that left us feeling, well, oh so serious.

When we first see Hancock, he is damaging buildings, cars and trains just to get his job done. It is okay if nobody gives him credit for saving the day, but condemning the reluctant superhero? It’s a bit too much for the poor guy to take. After saving a PR agent (an underused Jason Bateman), things begin to look good as a campaign to salvage Hancock’s reputation is launched. There is also a grouchy wife (Theron) who comes along and makes things a little difficult for the superhero.

Without giving too much away, let’s just say the inclusion of Theron as the PR agent’s wife isn’t coincidental. Just as you thought this would be a breezy job for the award winning actress (all we can remember are her sashays, smiles and pouts during the first half of the movie), things become explosive (figuratively and literally) when a plot twist is revealed.

And this is when you see how powerful Theron is – the girl deserves her Oscar.

And if we may, we’d like to commend Smith for taking up this role, adding to the versatile catalogue of other personalities in movies like the recent I Am Legend, the emotional The Pursuit of Happyness and the campy Men in Black. He is on his way to become an all rounded actor, that we are sure.

For the summer blockbuster crowd, the abovementioned plot twist may be a little too much to take, with all the moralizing and self righteous themes of undying love. But distractions come in the form of computer generated effects: Watch out as the destructive Hancock destroys vehicles, throws a whale into the sea and stops a crashing train. These effects may be nothing spectacular in today’s day and age, but they’ll do for the popcorn nibbling crowd.

Incidentally, if you scroll up to the top of this review page and take a look at the Singapore version of the movie poster, wouldn’t it be nice to see the Esplanade being destroyed by Hancock?

Movie Rating:

Review by John Li

(An awkward plot twist and a handful of special effects will not have Hancock’s name in the superhero’s hall of fame)


. I Am Legend (2007)

. The Kingdom (2007)

. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

. I, Robot (2004)

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