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Hancock

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Hancock... good idea, disappointing movie.

Jul 22, 2008
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review
  • User Rating: Very Good

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Pros:It's a good idea and there were some good things in the movie...

Cons:... but nowhere near enough...

The Bottom Line: If you really like Will Smith, see Hancock... otherwise there's not really enough reason to watch it unless you're bored.


Hancock is a reasonable take on superhero movies that has some good ideas but fails to carry them through. Basically, Hancock (Will Smith) has superpowers but lacks a certain... finesse about how he uses them. Which is to say that when he captures the baddies, he leaves a trail of untold damage and destruction in his wake. He’s also an alcoholic and has a complete disregard for... anyone. The fact that he’s the only one of his kind and has no memory of his earlier life don’t help him to get a grip on reality and start to become responsible for his actions, of course.

Hancock is one of those movies that’s advertised very much as a comedy but, apart from a few moments here and there and some rather unfunny slapstick and crude humour in the first fifteen minutes or so, doesn’t even try to be particularly funny. Personally I hate it when you’re made to expect a comedy and you’re given something else - Spanglish. The annoying thing in this case is that Hancock could have worked very well either as a comedy spoofing superhero movies or as an exploration of what it would be like for someone to have superpowers but not know why, and having to cope with the loneliness that comes from this. Since Hancock tries to be both, it is neither. The opening sequences weren’t particularly funny but it seemed to be heading, via the introduction of Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman, who is superb at portraying this sort of earnest but boring character) – a PR man who thinks he can make Hancock into someone the people love. This seems to be working, but there’s something going on between Hancock and Ray’s wife Mary (Charlize Theron – not terrible in the role but somehow I constantly found her annoying), and many surprises happen. Er... that is to say, everything that you probably expect to happen does, but you get the impression that Director Peter Berg thinks his audience won’t have foreseen them.

It starts badly, picks up a bit, gets worse and then towards the end things start to pick up again. I can only really see die-hard Will Smith fans really getting into this one – or maybe young children, who from the reaction when I was in the cinema seemed to enjoy it more than anyone. Nothing about Hancock is actually terrible – the plot is predictable and disappointingly doesn’t exploit the potential of the film’s premise, but it has its moments; the music score (by John Powell) is pretty good; the CGI is decent and the acting isn’t bad – but nothing is particularly good, either. The ending was quite good though and Jason Bateman’s performance was worth watching. I just felt that as soon as Mary’s “secret” was out, the film went downhill quickly – it was all rather obvious and frankly uninteresting. The inevitable small child who idolised Hancock (Aaron Embrey, played by Jae Head) wasn’t too annoying but added little to the film.

Hancock is rated 12A (UK) / PG-13 (USA) for some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and language. It’s one of those movies that gives you the impression several rude words were thrown in randomly simply to up the rating.

Overall, Hancock is something of a disappointment, but it still provides reasonable entertainment. I wouldn’t particularly recommend it to anyone other than Will Smith fans, but it’s probably fair to point out that I liked it least out of the small group of us that went to see it. Not as disappointing as " target="_Mamma_Mia by any means, but still something of a let-down.



Related Links

Other Will Smith Movies - I, Robot, Hitch, The Pursuit of Happyness (the first one I loved, the second and third I had a rather similar impression to as I did with Hancock)

See also My Top Ten Superhero Movies


Recommend this product? No


Movie Mood: Action Movie
Viewing Method: Other
Film Completeness: Looked complete to me.


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