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Overall Rating

Awesome: 14.61%
Worth A Look32.58%
Average: 19.1%
Pretty Bad: 28.09%
Total Crap: 5.62%

7 reviews, 47 user ratings

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by Lybarger

"With great eye candy comes mediocre filmmaking"
2 stars

The script for “Hancock” has been bouncing around Hollywood since 1996, continually being revised and reworked for a staggering variety of studios, directors and stars. And it’s certainly evident in the final film.

The idea of a surly, bitter superhero isn’t new. The characters Stan Lee created for Marvel, like Spider-Man and The Thing, have their powers and duties thrust upon them and would frequently love to get out their fates.

Nonetheless, the idea of combining Will Smith’s sly charm with a sarcastic approach to comic book protagonists has potential. Smith’s inherent appeal can help mollify the rudeness of his character.

Nonetheless, even he needs good material, and it’s fitfully supplied here.

In this case, he plays an obnoxious super known only as “Hancock,” who can fly and stop locomotives in transit. But he can’t resist the siren call of alcohol.

Thanks to his addiction, Hancock’s attempts at heroism cause more harm than good. He foils an armed robbery only to damage half of a major freeway. It’s a safe bet that his damage exceeds the cost of the theft.

Even though Los Angeles is teeming with criminals, Hancock is loathed because of his dubious track record and his offensive manner. Sporting a homeless man’s wardrobe and a stubble beard, he alienates those who encounter him for the first time. For those who are still willing to give him the time of day, Hancock upsets them with his foul mouth and belligerent behavior.

So far, so good. It is pretty funny watching the damage that might actually occur if a human could really move that quickly.

Curiously, “Hancock” falls apart when the story actually kicks into gear. Our super-antihero winds up saving the life of an idealistic PR man named Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman). No, “idealistic PR man” is not an oxymoron, although some readers might say they are as rare as superheroes.

Out of gratitude Ray tries to fix both Hancock’s damaged soul and image. Ray’s wife Mary (Charlize Theron) isn’t happy with her husband’s new venture and urges Hancock to leave her family alone. From here, the film slowly loses its wit and energy.

Thanks to a multitude of screenwriters involved (Vince Gilligan, John August and original writer Vincent Ngo), the origins and secrets of “Hancock” make little sense. Gaps in Hancock’s powers come and go with confusing, half-baked explanations.

It’s almost as if you could spot where one writer’s ideas begin and the other’s ends. As a result viewers spend more time trying to decipher the story instead of enjoying it.

“Hancock” might have worked better if viewers didn’t have to know how he became an unpleasant drunk. The old “The Tick” cartoons are a riot even though we never learn how the title character became an amusingly ineffectual blowhard.

Director Peter Berg’s (“The Kingdom”) tone and approach are also problematic. At times his attempts at gross out humor are cruel and simply, well, gross instead of funny. Watching limbs flying off might be funny in other filmmakers hands (the Monty Python troupe for example) but feels off-putting here.

Berg also shoots most of the film using tight closeups and abruptly edits the special effects sequences. One of the first rules of superhero movies is that regardless of whether film is serious or silly, viewers need to be able to follow the action.

Near the end, some of the battles are incoherent and sloppy and look as if the filmmakers had been imbibing the same drinks Hancock has been eagerly consuming. The special effects are pretty convincing, so it’s shame viewers can’t take them in.

Smith, who briefly seems to be enjoying a chance to shed his sunny image, appears to lose enthusiasm as Hancock attempts to straighten up. After seeing the final film, it’s easy to share his ennui.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 07/02/08 13:59:44
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User Comments

3/25/18 morris campbell pretty good imho 4 stars
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 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
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  02-Jul-2008 (PG-13)
  DVD: 25-Nov-2008


  DVD: 25-Nov-2008

[trailer] Trailer

Directed by
  Peter Berg

Written by
  Vincent Ngo
  Vince Gilligan

  Will Smith
  Charlize Theron
  Jason Bateman
  Eddie Marsan

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