BLOGS

Hancock is Half-Cocked: Our Review

Let's get this out of the way: Hancock is not a great movie. It has all of the makings of one: a terrific cast, a pretty brilliant concept, and loads of ambition. But it never rises too far above any other summer action flick.

There are some truly excellent things about the movie, though:

- Will Smith is a surprise in his willingness to upend his clean-cut, good-guy image -- while playing a superhero, no less. He embraces and seems to utterly enjoy playing a character who, let's face it, is a jackass. He's drunken, disorderly, disagreeable, and mean to kids. And that's just the first five minutes.

- It's really funny. From Jason Bateman's usual dry delivery to Will Smith's rowdy antics, the comedy will certainly keep audiences entertained.

- It's a superhero movie in which -- without giving too much away -- the title character's most heroic acts are entirely human. Sure, he can step in front of a train speeding toward a stalled car or easily end a dangerous hostage situation. But the noblest things he does in the movie are when he puts the happiness of others before his own in a big way.

- It will surprise you. In an age when so few movie scripts come up with anything resembling an original thought, it's nice to get a movie that is not only something you haven't seen a million times before, but also has the ability to draw genuine gasps from the audience.

With all these things going for it, Hancock should have been the best movie of the summer, right? Well, its fatal flaw is that it set the bar too high, and failed to meet its own lofty expectations.

The movie tries to be too many things, and so never settles on what it most wants to be. Is it an action-packed superhero movie carried by a marquee star? A hilarious buddy film, a la Lethal Weapon? Or something deeper and more meaningful than either of those?

The problem is that it has elements of all three, and even more, and never commits fully to any of them.

In other words: If you're looking for next year's Oscar contenders, this probably won't be a movie you'll rush out to see. But if you're looking for something to keep you entertained for a couple hours, Hancock should definitely make your short list.

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