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Hancock (DVD)

Starring: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman and one of the most ill-conceived plot twists in cinematic history.

Rated: 12.

Story: Hancock (Smith) is immortal, invulnerable, super strong and able to fly. He's also an irritable drunk who's quick to take offence and who doesn't care if he creates a big hole in the road every time he lands. His attempts to help people always end in disaster and swearing.

Then he saves the life of a philanthropic PR man (Bateman) who offers to clean up his image. After a little amusing rehab, everything goes downhill...

Comments: Hancock starts out in a promising fashion. It completely breaks from the Spider-Man superhero movie template of girlfriend trouble -> superpower -> little fight -> angst-ridden girlfriend trouble -> big fight -> pose-striking finish. There's no sitting around for half an hour waiting for Hancock to gain his powers and master them - it's straight to car-smashing chaos. Hurrah!

Sadly, it doesn't last. The idea is great but the execution has no conviction. You'd imagine there'd be plenty of comic potential in the concept of a superhero who's lacking in self control, manners and personal hygiene, but the laughs quickly die out. All too soon, Hancock evolves from scumbag to X-Man wannabe and there's half an hour of sitting around as he masters his powers and we learn how he gained them.

The change of tack almost exactly coincides with a cataclysmic plot twist which destroys the movie entirely. Suddenly the film goes from mildly entertaining superhero comedy to straight superhero action flick. It's not even a good superhero action flick. There seems to be an attempt to fit every mistake possible into forty-five minutes - there's angst, a dull CGI fight, nonsensical limitations to Hancock's power, tiresome brooding, a lack of a proper villain and a schmaltzy happy ending (with posing). Gah!

For once, a sequel stands little chance of redeeming matters. It would be Superman with added Will Smith, wisecracks and swearing. Not a hugely enticing prospect...

Conclusion: You've already seen the good bits in the trailer.

Explosions: Not many. Stuff tends to get smashed rather than going boom.
Jokes: Essentially one (and even the writers give up on it halfway through).
Missed opportunities: Several.
For the kids?: Totally not.
For anyone?: Maybe... but there's probably something better on TV.

Rating: 2/5.


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