Directed by Peter Berg.
Written by Vincent Ngo and Vince Gilligan.
Starring Will Smith, Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron.
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 7/2/08
I think the premise of "Hancock" is great.
Some people are just assholes, and in the case of our hero John
Hancock (Will Smith), he's a grade-A asshole. Skirt chaser,
alcoholic, verbally abusive towards all people regardless of color,
creed, socioeconomic background, you name it. It just so
happens that, in modern-day Los Angeles, Hancock is the rough
equivalent of Superman.
So, what if this guy decided, with the help
of a PR specialist (Jason Bateman), to improve his bad image by
going to prison to serve time for his, ahem, "off-the-field"
incidents, and then get summoned by the chief of police to go back
to his save-the-nation-from-crime ways? All of this comprises
the film's first half, and it is what is given to us in trailers as
the plot anyway, so most of you already know this is going to
But, that gets us to the 45-minute point,
and we've got to find a way to fill up more than forty minutes of
screen time. What do the filmmakers do? They come up
with a fix, a way to sort of explain how's it is possible for
Hancock to have any weaknesses. It also opens the door to
possibly give us a bad guy, and with only three characters to speak
of in the whole movie, it gives us a narrow field of suspects.
"Hancock" wasn't anything special up to the
halfway mark anyway, but this mid-film plot twist kills off the film
altogether. Also, "Hancock" has an amazingly bad, sparse,
one-trick-pony script that gets thin after Hancock stops cursing old
people or fat people or small children. (Laying both this
script and the script for
"I Am Legend"
together, I am starting to worry a bit about Will Smith after one of
his better career highlights,
Pursuit of Happyness.") And to this the strong
reliance--necessary--on CGI for "Hancock", I was left staring at the
walls, other peeps' cell phones and my inner soul for long stretches
during this film.
Was it all bad? No, but mostly.
Bateman is normally a guaranteed laugh machine, but that doesn't
happen here in "Hancock", again in part due to the script.
Smith does surly quite well, and I am sure that means he was acting,
because he doesn't whip out the trademark smile even once during
this film. But, his Hancock character is so badly written, and
in transition shots at prison, he seems to have nothing to say or
do, save for 1) shooting full-court basketball shots, or 2) saying
"Pass" during his therapy sessions. Wow, this is invigorating
stuff!! Even the child actor who plays the PR guy's son looks
kind of weird...were there no decent, normal-looking actors
"Hancock" banked big dough in its
so I'm not worried that its quality will matter. But, I'm sure
that even Smith wants to get back to work soon, to improve upon this
piece of dung ASAP.
Rating: Hard Vice
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard