Sunday 29 June 2008
Hancock is another film which doesn't live up to its potential, but it is tantalisingly close. It stars Will Smith as an unshaven, unhygienic superhero.
He may be able to fly and throw cars through walls, but he's usually in an alcoholic haze at the time, and for every crook he catches he costs Los Angeles millions of dollars in property damage – something, by the way, which all superheroes do, but which no one ever blames or bills them for. For once, it's the superhero who needs saving, and the man for the job is a glib but good-hearted PR guru, Jason Bateman, who believes he can overhaul Smith's image. Bateman's wife, Charlize Theron, isn't convinced.
Anyone who pays for a glossy Will Smith summer blockbuster will be shouting for a refund within minutes. Hancock is a sly, subversive satire with the mood of an indie drama and the wobbly guerrilla camera style of The Bourne Ultimatum. But the second half of Hancock is where it really cuts loose, throwing in a loopy sub plot and a stack of complicated mythology, and giving the distinct impression that there's a longer director's cut in the offing where its sudden twists and turns will all make sense.
It's certainly a flawed film, but that's mainly because it has more ideas than it knows what to do with. That won't stop it being watched again and again by its cult following long after most of this summer's other superhero movies are forgotten.
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