On paper, the premise for this big budget blockbuster is eminently intriguing; a public relations spokesman attempts to repair the public image of a dysfunctional, alcoholic superhero. Add into the mix ‘The Kingdom’ director Peter Berg, the most bankable movie-star on the planet in the lead role, and solid support from Golden Globe winner Jason Bateman and Academy Award winner Charlize Theron. The recipe could have resulted in a sophisticated subversion of the overblown effects movies which currently dominate the superhero genre (think Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man 3), but in actual fact Hancock falls flat about half way through it’s lean running time. We’re introduced to John Hancock in a scene that sets the tone for the rest of the film – sleeping off a hangover on a bench in downtown Los Angeles, a small kid points out a live news channel showing police in hot pursuit of an armed gang. After an exchange Hancock grudgingly takes to the skies and meanders his way across town to sort out the commotion, causing all sorts of collateral damage along the way. While half-heartedly attempting to do good, Hancock’s indifferent attitude and lack of consideration make him a public enemy on more than one occasion; the overriding theme of ‘what if Superman were an asshole?’ is the film’s most refreshing element. Will Smith is also entertaining playing against type as a grouchy, super-powered bum, but when PR guy Ray Embrey (Bateman) takes on the challenge of repairing Hancock’s poor reputation, the character inevitably becomes more heroic, and moves further away from the original concept. The film takes a turn for the worse with a convoluted plot device surrounding Hancock’s origins, and before you know it all the humour and wish-fulfilment of the opening half are sucked out of the script, replaced by a serious tone in an attempt to tie everything together by the time the unsatisfactory conclusion rolls around. As you’d expect from Peter Berg, Hancock is a stylish looking film; being a Sony release, although grain is evident, as well as a few soft looking shots (the product of a constantly moving camera), the Blu-ray transfer is pretty much immaculate, and the substantial set pieces and special effects really stand out on the format. While the Dolby TrueHD track is solid, if not a tad functional, despite the lack of a commentary, there are some interesting extras here, including an unrated cut of the film that includes ten extra minutes of footage.
Feature: Extras: Picture: Audio:
Director: Peter Berg
Starring: Will Smith, Jason Bateman, Charlize Theron
Released: Out Now