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HANCOCK by Peter Berg


Hancock (Will Smith) is living on the streets of Los Angeles, sleeping on park benches, drinking hard and cultivating his foul mood. The people who know him all seem to think he’s an asshole, and he doesn’t care. But Hancock is not just another homeless drunkard – he is a superhero drunkard. He can fly, has super-strength, is invulnerable and super-fast – generally he can do what Superman can do. Except he isn’t nearly as polite and friendly as Superman. And because he doesn’t care (and is usually drunk during his feats), he tends to leave chaos and multi million dollar-destruction behind, and people in Los Angeles are not very happy to have their own superhero, wondering instead what they have done to deserve Hancock.
One day he saves Ray Embrey’s (Jason Bateman) life (and wrecks a train in the process). Ray is an unsuccessful PR Manager and so grateful that he wants to do something for Hancock – he offers him to coach him and to change his image until the people in Los Angeles love their superhero. Ray invites Hancock to his home where he meets Ray’s son Aaron (Jae Head) – Hancock’s only fan – and wife Mary (Charlize Theron) who seems not too enthusiastic to meet him.
Upon Ray’s advice, Hancock, who previously ignored all court subpoenas, agrees to do time in jail. As predicted by Ray, crime rates skyrocket with Hancock in prison, and soon the chief of police needs Hancock’s help to save a female police officer who is trapped in a shootout with bank robbers. And it’s a whole new Hancock coming to the rescue – shaved, sober, polite and properly dressed. Ray is thrilled, and everything seems to be perfect, but there seems to be something going on between Hancock and Mary …

The first half of Hancock is as funny, entertaining (and even rude) as it sounds and as you might expect after seeing the trailer. Here is a different kind of superhero (though not as original as the makers of Hancock might think – it’s not so different from Uma Thurman‘s My Super-Ex Girlfriend) who has some problems – and deals with rejection in a less responsible way than, let’s say, Peter Parker a.k.a. Spider-Man. Teaming him up with Jason Bateman’s kindhearted, dreamy PR Agent who wants to make the world a better place sets up everything nicely and gets things going.
But then, halfway through the movie, it takes an U-turn into drama, romance and a quasi-mythological origin story, stopping the plot dead in it’s tracks before it can really fly, and what follows feels like an entirely different movie – unfortunately one that’s less enjoyable as the first part. It’s still saved by the actor’s performances, but barely.
Thanks to the first part, Hancock is not a bad movie – but thanks to the tepid second act, it will not be the superhero-flick of the year – that one’s still to come!

Will Smith - Hancock  Charlize Theron in Hancock 

Hancock movie trailer

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