"The Incredible Hulk"
Directed by Louis Leterrier.
Written by Zak Penn.
Starring Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth and William Hurt.
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 6/15/08
It took actually seeing the new film "The
Incredible Hulk" to realize that it is actually a sequel to the 2003
film "Hulk", as opposed
to being a remake of that film, which I thought would be like the
dumbest idea ever. Adding to my confusion is that the
filmmakers replaced every major actor, writer and director--Ang Lee
did the last one--to do this sequel, but they didn't replace them
with worse actors, they replaced them with better actors (save for
Jennifer Connelly, supremely more talented than Liv Tyler...but, I
digress) and an up-and-coming director named Louis Leterrier, a
Frenchman who did both "Transporter" films and the very good Jet Li
from three years ago. The end result? A surprisingly
good, violent, meaty action film that takes this franchise from
arthouse flick to fan-friendly fare.
The major change is the complete lack of
storytelling, in the traditional superhero/comic book sense; "The
Incredible Hulk" starts five years after the original film and
doesn't even both to introduce us to Bruce Banner (Edward Norton),
but rather, we get to see Banner living out a life in Brazil as a
fugitive from the US government because he's still got those curious
problems controlling his anger. The only backstory we do get
concerns Banner's relationship to Dr. Betty Ross (Tyler), and how
she might be able to help him suppress his gamma-induced deformity.
Otherwise, no flashbacks, no shots of Banner and his father (from
the last film, played straight crazy-guy style by Nick Nolte)
growing up, no time spent talking about Banner really at all, save
for what is happening in the moment. This is very strange
given the property; the decision to dump this material is at times a
very bad idea, but somehow, the pace and the action of the film make
you forget that until the film is over.
As it is, the command Leterrier showed in
his action sequences in his other movies pays off here, with
excellent pacing throughout, and CGI that makes the Hulk look much
scarier than he did in "Hulk"...in fact, the brawls between Hulk and
the creature called Abomination late in the film are downright
nasty, at least for two computer-designed creations; I actually
wondered how good an idea it is to bring kids to watch this kind of
stuff, because the fights look that roughhouse. Then, you get
a good back-and-forth between Banner and Ross, as well as tough guy
Blonsky (Tim Roth, a good addition) and General Ross (William Hurt,
formerly Sam Elliott)...splitting these scenes up, then making sure
a chase or action scene is never far away, keep "The Incredible
Hulk" intense enough for a Sunday afternoon.
And, the inevitable big fight at the end did
not suck, which was different than another Marvel flick,
"Iron Man"; in fact, I liked "The
Incredible Hulk" more than "Iron Man" because we got a more
evenly-laid product for two hours. The first hour of "Iron
Man" was better than "The Incredible Hulk", but unfortunately for
"Iron Man", it wasn't over yet. Start-to-finish, I had more
fun during "The Incredible Hulk", which is a big surprise for me
given my expectations.
Good stuff, but never great; I'm not exactly
frothing at the mouth over another sequel, but a minor twist at the
end of this film makes the Marvel universe very interesting over the
next couple of years. We'll see!
Rating: $9.50 Show
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$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