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Overall Rating
3.22

Awesome: 14.77%
Worth A Look31.82%
Average: 19.32%
Pretty Bad: 28.41%
Total Crap: 5.68%

7 reviews, 46 user ratings


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Hancock
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by brianorndorf

"Peter Berg gets one halfway right"
3 stars

I’m not used to writing a statement like this, so please forgive me if I pass out from the shock of disbelief: Peter Berg’s direction saves “Hancock.” There, it’s out on the page for the world to see. Clearly the cinema gods are pleased with me, because I just watched a Peter Berg film and I didn’t want to punch the screen afterwards.

Hancock (Will Smith) is a superman who can fly, is impervious to bullets, and has staggering strength. He’s also an alcoholic and a social misfit, leaving a trail of wreckage behind every crime-stopping spree. Ray (Jason Bateman) is a publicist looking to help Hancock soften his image and reverse his reputation. Instructing him to put the bottle down and start becoming a productive member of society, Ray and Hancock become close friends while the hero rises from destructive drunk to uneasy hero, much to the concern of Ray’s cautious wife, Mary (Charlize Theron), who believes Hancock should be kept as far away from her as possible.

It’s the sheer energy of Will Smith that helps “Hancock” to find its footing early on in the picture. Relishing his chance to play a total cretin, Smith leans into the role with style, embracing Hancock’s slurred bile toward civilians and his reluctance to use his powers in a more safety-conscious manner. It’s an amusing turn for Smith, who doesn’t merely lay back into the comfortable position of an unbeatable superhero; the actor clearly wants to be challenged by the role and fills Hancock with a surprising vulnerability to go with the generous portions of acerbic comedy, the best emerging from Hancock’s bottle-clutching attitude and distaste for the general public.

Berg as a film director is a concept I’ve never been comfortable with. The man adores his shaky-cam aesthetic, which usually reveals his enormous laziness and impatience with the dramatic process (“The Kingdom,” “Friday Night Lights”), and his sense of humor has a pretty pungent track record (“The Rundown,” “Very Bad Things”). That said, Berg silences some of his obnoxious tics for “Hancock,” a film that he can’t simply coast through on invented adrenaline alone. It’s a byzantine screenplay for reasons I can’t fully reveal for fear of setting off spoilers alarms, but this tale of an askew hero is rich with character flaws and elaborate plot twists, and it’s up to Berg to find a center of gravity for the whole production. It’s not a revelatory piece of work, but for Berg, it’s his first step toward crafting actual human interaction. He’s able to find an endearing emotional core for the film that’s not explored to the fullest extent, but the mere fact that there’s something other than pure action tearing up the screen is a miracle of sorts.

Berg is less skilled at stapling “Hancock” together. Reportedly sliced down from a longer, R-rated cut, the final PG-13 version of the film plays fast and loose with plot turns. Where did Hancock come from? How did Ray and Hancock find a speed for their friendship? Why is Mary so agitated? There are many questions unanswered within the finished film, but what’s worse are the obvious holes in the narrative that were clearly laid out to explore the characters further, only to be scraped out as a result of impatient test audiences. “Hancock” runs just under 90 minutes, and while the swiftness is tempting, the missing information adds up fast, spilling over into the bewildering finale that puts Hancock’s immortality to the test while completely failing to adequately explain a critical plot twist.

Perhaps it’s all just set-up for the inevitable sequel.

“Hancock” is horrendously disjointed and barely manages to tell a story, but I was delighted by its charisma and Will Smith’s unexpected middle-finger timing. It’s not a smooth experience, but “Hancock” pleases more than it disappoints, leaving further installments plenty of room to build on what Berg has started here.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=17095&reviewer=404
originally posted: 07/04/08 13:54:47
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User Comments

6/03/12 Phineas Hollywood using the super hero genre to promote anti-White miscegenation 1 stars
2/27/11 Monday Morning Hey Eric C., for such a bad movie you sure wasted a lot of your life criticizing it. 3 stars
5/22/10 gc An authentic, original super hero movie, needed a better villan though 4 stars
10/26/09 Crazy27 It's getting louder with each and every smidgen of quantitative easing, bailout, and fiscal 2 stars
10/26/09 Kelvin81 We are happy to resend any missing acknowledgement file when requested to do so. , <a hre 3 stars
10/25/09 Pol64 A paradox of the current media moment is that, while journalism jobs are disappearing, j-sc 5 stars
10/24/09 Merlin73 Now that marriage is briefly legal in California, people have been asking me and Tim if we 5 stars
10/23/09 Boy15 Take breaks to talk to workmates or friends. , 2 stars
10/23/09 Gangster47 I will be planting my own on that lot. , 3 stars
7/15/09 scotty i thought it was brilliant 5 stars
6/23/09 Micigan Cornut The worst movie ever made. 1 stars
5/27/09 mr.mike Credit for the different approach but nearly derails halfway through. 3 stars
5/03/09 Heap Agreed with others that first-half is semi-interesting but much dross in the 2nd half 2 stars
12/21/08 Tony Breaks from superhero tradition and earns laughs from a great cast. 5 stars
12/06/08 Luisa Very entertaining, funny. Cool superhero story, different from the others, in a good way. 4 stars
11/28/08 Yvette My son bought it and I watched it. I thought it was kinda good. I would watch it again. 5 stars
11/23/08 Jon G Very Good until the twist, which was extremely gimmicky 4 stars
11/21/08 Shaun Wallner Laughed my ass off! 5 stars
9/28/08 Samantha Pruitt cool idea, weird twist, Will Smith is great! 3 stars
8/28/08 damalc didn't expect to like it. creators didn't treat it like a kids' film. 4 stars
7/20/08 Jayson A July 4 Will Smith flick I finally loved. 4 stars
7/17/08 David Gregg Finally! A good review! I'm Glad someone appreciated the movie for it's unpredictability. 4 stars
7/15/08 mike I enjoyed this movie and had some really funny parts. 4 stars
7/14/08 Karen Loved this movie! Great special effects! 5 stars
7/14/08 John Hernholm I hate to admitt it but i really enjoyed this movie. I know, it suprised me too... 4 stars
7/14/08 George Barksdale A Superman in civilian clothes, blah 2 stars
7/13/08 anyanwu Delightful & surprising popcorn superhero movie with a bit of maturity and transformation 4 stars
7/13/08 Koitus I was pleasantly surprised; 1st time I think I disagree with B-Slap's reviewers' consensus. 4 stars
7/13/08 Darkstar It's not Ironman, but it's not fantastic 4 either. ok action movie. 3 stars
7/12/08 Reini Urban The real surprise here is Charlize Theron. Excellent acting of all. 3 stars
7/12/08 grafdog I agree with this reviewer its risk pay off and it was ACME novelty library'esque in parts. 4 stars
7/10/08 roscoe19998 YOU have to be kidding me!!!! No real villain and the plot (or lack thereof) is retarded 2 stars
7/08/08 Uncle Salty Horse Shit 1 stars
7/08/08 Invader Zim The film is a good look at what becomes of a hero who's given up on life. Worth while. 4 stars
7/08/08 mary m This was a different kind of superhero movie. I liked it' 4 stars
7/08/08 John Don't expect Shakespeare and you'll get a pretty fun movie out of it. 4 stars
7/08/08 Ken If by "misrepresented" it, you mean it didn't give away half of the plot twists, then yes. 4 stars
7/08/08 steve I thought it was refreshing take on the superhero genre. Fun though not brilliant 4 stars
7/07/08 BNorm It's too bad another corny "true love" plot line ruined an otherwise decent film 3 stars
7/07/08 Crispin Meh. Could have been much better. The trailer misrepresented it. 3 stars
7/06/08 Quigley Too confused and sloppily assembled. Smith is great as always but don't even bother with it 3 stars
7/05/08 Jiz This is what you'd get if you took 3 half-finished superhero movie scripts and stapled them 2 stars
7/05/08 PAUL SHORTT A CLUMSILY EXECUTED, FORGETTABLE MESS THATS TOO DARK FOR KIDS AND TOO DUMB FOR ADULTS 1 stars
7/05/08 Anthony Feor Sure it is visually astound and has good action, but I am tired of one dimentional actors. 3 stars
7/03/08 Keystra Williams Piece of shit 1 stars
7/03/08 Gazz OPPORTUNISTIC HACK DIRECTOR PETER BERG RUINED THIS! 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Jul-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 25-Nov-2008

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A
  DVD: 25-Nov-2008



[trailer] Trailer


Directed by
  Peter Berg

Written by
  Vincent Ngo
  Vince Gilligan

Cast
  Will Smith
  Charlize Theron
  Jason Bateman
  Eddie Marsan



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