Published Jul 02, 2008Will Smiths alcoholic, potty-mouthed high-flyer Hancock barrels right through freeways and skyscrapers, destroying much of downtown Los Angeles as he comes to the rescue. Like its titular superhero, Hancock the movie recklessly soars past the audience at a mile-a-minute, busting through some pretty hefty plot and character developments, and laying waste to what could (at the least) have been a fun ride.
The set-up (recognisable from the prologues of The Incredibles and Superman Returns) involves Hancocks bitter rejection from a world that wants to do away with unaccountable superheroes. A PR agent (Jason Bateman), who owes Hancock his life, wants to put things right by signing the disgraced hero up for rehabilitation, lessons in heroic etiquette and jail-time so that the public can learn to miss him.
As this is all pretty straight-forward stuff, director Peter Berg rushes by it, forfeiting the opportunity to gain the audiences familiarity, leaving his characters anaemic for what comes next, which is a dizzying spell of wayward plot turns and thematic shifts. Plagued by numerous rewrites (and some sizeable cuts by the looks of things), Hancock juggles far too many ideas at far too short a running time, leaving the movie to self-destruct in a mind-blowing way.
It has an odd mix of goofy and serious; Smith transitions from ranting like Samuel L. Jackson, as he kicks around baddies, to playing up the melodrama, as a scorned lover of all things. The movie ultimately condemns Hancock to an immortal life of loneliness, which both he and the audience have to learn to accept. The kind of tragedy (and grave implications) that unfolds out of all this is a lot to take in just 90 minutes.
Its all material that we might have been able to swallow if we had the time to chew. Instead, Hancock chokes. (Sony)