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Monday, July 7, 2008

Hancock a Summer Dud

The latest Will Smith vehicle, Sony pictures new release "Hancock", came out on the 4th of July weekend and is billed as a summer blockbuster. 

It even took first place at the box office this past weekend, and the Debber and I helped out the coffers of the film's producers and stars by attending on Saturday at the AMC Woodhaven theatre. 

I am a huge fan of Will Smith, and perhaps an even bigger fan of his female lead in this film, one Charlize Theron. So I hate to say it, but rather than a blockbuster, Hancock is a summer dud. 

It's not a good sign when the best part of a film is Theron's gorgeous face and my popcorn/soda combo. 

Something just seems missing from Smith here. He just doesn't ever translate the charm, heart, or heroism that he exhibited in 'Independence Day', 'Hitch', 'I, Robot', or the 'Men in Black' films that made me such a fan in the first place. 

Smith plays John Hancock (seriously), billed as a hard-living superhero who has fallen out of favor with the public. Perhaps that is because Hancock is a drunken bum who causes more damage than he prevents. 

Jason Bateman does a passable turn as Ray Embrey, a PR-man who's life is saved by Hancock in one of those 'more damage than good' efforts. Embrey takes Hancock's poor-imaged self under his wing, and tries to clean him up, both literally and figuratively. 

Embrey's wife Mary is played by the stunning Theron, and she brings more life to her character than Smith to his. The film takes a bit long in developing the Smith-Theron relationship, though they leave no doubt early on that there is one. 

Eddie Marsan plays an unconvincing bad guy, arch-enemy type, a real downer for this classically trained Brit. 

The movie is long on special effects: too many, too fast, too often. They are well done, but usually to the point of distraction (though a whale-tossing scene is well done.) 

Hancock is also a 'tweener', not seeming to be able to decide whether it's a comedy, a drama, an action-hero flic, what have you. It ends up being a dissatisfying mush of all these types. 

Hancock will be well-publicized and well-attended, at least in it's early weeks, but word-of-mouth should get out pretty quick that this is not Will Smith at his best. Hancock would be best skipped, and left without a sequel.

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