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Reviewed on 2008-07-02
Received[3.5]  out of 4 stars
GenreAction / Comedy / Drama / Fantasy
Will Smith carries 'Hancock
2 and a half stars (Out of four)

Review by Keith Cohen, "The Movie Guy"

Will Smith is the reigning king when it comes to box office blockbusters. His current hot streak of seven consecutive films grossing over $100 million began with “Men in Black II” (2002).

His affinity with a release over the 4th of July weekend (beginning with “Independence Day” in 1996) has also been a good luck charm. His stellar record should continue with his starring role as a misunderstood superhero.

Smith plays against type when first introduced on camera. He is taking a snooze on a bus stop bench as a result of a hangover from a night of drinking. He is wearing clothes from a thrift store along with a stocking cap and shades. He desperately needs a shower and a shave.

A little kid wakes him up and tells him that the police are engaged in a high speed pursuit on the freeway. The boy ends their brief conversation by calling this disgruntled superhero an a-hole (a term that is repeated over and over). Hancock flies away to fight the bad guys clutching a full bottle of bourbon.

He has incurred the public wrath for causing so much property damage in Los Angeles while fighting crime. The opening premise puts a whole new wrinkle on the myths associated with a superman who can fly, possesses incredible strength and is not susceptible to bullets (they bounce off his body).

You will learn that his alcohol addiction, anger management issues and surly behavior relate to an identity crisis. He feels alone in the world. He views himself as a one-of-a-kind freak deprived of happiness and the companionship of a soul mate.

He borrowed his name after a nurse at a hospital told him to put his “John Hancock” on some release forms. He was told that he suffered a skull fracture and total amnesia trying to stop an alley mugging in Miami. His only remnant of the past is two movie tickets to “Frankenstein” (1931) starring Boris Karloff.

Kryptonite rules, which are set up by the muddled screenplay and often violated, explain how and why he can be zapped of his superhuman abilities.

The movie changes course like a chameleon from a dark comedy to a dramatic love story when Hancock saves the life of Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman). Secrets are revealed and surprising twists unfold during this middle portion of the film.

Ray is an idealistic and benevolent public relations executive who wears his heart on his sleeve. This do-gooder introduces Hancock to his adorable, blond-haired, young son Aaron (Jae Head) and attractive trophy wife Mary (Charlize Theron).

Ray volunteers to change Hancock’s public image. Hancock trusts Ray and turns himself in to the authorities. He cleans up his act and even starts serving a prison sentence for destruction of public and private property.

Duty calls again and he breaks up an attempted bank robbery involving a mad bomber who has rigged explosives on multiple hostages.

Smith with his likability and charisma carries this rickety vehicle across the goal line on his broad shoulders. The movie is a schizophrenic mishmash that switches gears frequently. The script suffers from a myriad of disjointed parts that mirror the personality disorder of the main character. It runs out of laughs at the midway point, becoming a tension-filled, suspense thriller.

The sexy Theron adds female empowerment to her role as a suburban housewife. You find out that she can do more than clean a house, raise a child and make spaghetti and meatballs.

The movie proceeds at a fast pace and has been edited down to the bare bones, eliminating any superfluous material with a running time of 92 minutes.

This summer escapist fare is full of adult themes and not intended for family or early-teen audiences. Vulgarity rears its ugly head often with coarse and crass language.

Another drawback is the overactive handheld camera, which is constantly in motion. Director Peter Berg (“The Kingdom” and “Friday Night Lights”) seems to enjoy circling around the actors like a whirling dervish. The herky-jerky camera frequently shakes and gets too close to the actor’s faces. The shoddy camerawork is offset to some extent by fantastic special effects.

Smith wins you over with his amazing transformation from a scruffy-looking slob to a suave and sophisticated action hero. You find yourself enjoying the bumpy ride and cheering for the reliable Smith to prevail when the movie unleashes its furious bag of tricks in an exciting climax.

Hancock Movie Review
4 stars (Out of four)

Review below by Jolene Mendez

Will Smith offers more bang for your buck this holiday weekend starring in “Hancock”. Smith stars as Hancock, a superhero who is looked down upon by the public due to his antics. Not only does Hancock have troubles when it comes to drinking, he also has difficulties in communication, patience and destruction. It seems like no matter what Hancock tries to do, in saving a life, he manages to make the situation worse and cause millions of dollars in damage. When Hancock’s hero mod crosses with Ray (Jason Bateman), he is interested in saving Hancock, possibly rescuing him from a lonely and solitary being.

Ray’s wife Mary (Charlize Theron) does not look fondly upon Hancock. Wondering what possible reason her husband has for wanting to save this individual, she notifies both her husband and Hancock that there is a warrant out for his arrest. What better way for the public to realize what Hancock truly has to offer, than to remove him from society and have them appreciate the safety he has to offer.In the beginning it looks like Hancock is not missed, that is until the chief of police calls on Hancock for his immediate release to help with a rescue. Will Hancock improve his methods this time around, or will he fall off the wagon again?

Hancock is not your standard superhero, this is a tale with a twist. Most superhero’s inherit their powers or it is a gift, not so in Hancock’s case. His powers are found to be that of from the Gods and to be eternal. After seeing this film you wonder why did someone not think of this storyline sooner? With Superman and Spiderman being such a success it was time for a new hero, one that everyone can relate to. This was a struggle between the hero and himself and trying to figure out who he really is. Will Smith offered an amazing performance, and had a well rounded display of many emotions, all portrayed to perfection. Charlize Theron and Jason Bateman had stealer performances as well. Hancock is cinema magic packaged up for all to view. The fourth of July will not be the only day for fireworks, July 2nd will definitely heat up at your local theatre when Hancock is released. Be sure to check it out.

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