It’s that time of year, again. The weather is hot and wet, like an airborne sauna, barbecues are a dime a dozen; and, kids, big and little, are at the movies seeing the summer’s offerings in record droves. It’s early July, which means it must be time for another Will Smith action movie.
In the past, there was Independence Day, I, Robot, Men in Black, and Men in Black II. July is Smith’s month for box office gold. His latest installment, Hancock, is also likely to rake in the dough even though it does not get my endorsement.
Hancock is about a superhuman named John Hancock (played by Will Smith), who is so powerful, bullets bounce off of him and he can fly. He tries to save the world, but always falls short; some might even call him the underdog. In the movie, a different phrase is used to describe Hancock, but this is a family-oriented newspaper, so I’ll skip it. I do, however, want to touch on the language of the film.
The Motion Pictures Arts Association (MPAA) has the job of making sure that movies receive an accurate rating. They want to make sure children don’t wander into movies with gratuitous sex, nudity, blood, guts, and gore. They are so strict that if a movie has more than two curse words, it gets an automatic PG-13 rating. With that said, I have to wonder how Hancock is rated PG-13, because Hancock alone uses so many curse words, it made me blush.
And Hancock doesn’t just stop at foul language. Limbs get severed (not graphically), and people get put in very compromising positions of a non-sexual manner. The watchdog slept on this one. Either Smith should have been compelled to clean up his language or the movie should have been rated R.
The screenwriters are also at fault. I understand Hancock is based on a hit British TV show and screenwriters Vincent Ngo and Vince Gilligan had to write an adaptation, but they should have found a way to make the movie more entertaining.
Hancock starts out really slow. I actually got bored with the story. Then, he cleans himself up, and it gets exciting for about 15 minutes. Afterward, there’s a lull until the climax. After the climax, the movie just gets sad.
Peter Berg is a pretty good director. But, like the MPAA, his skills seem tarnished. The movie is morbid.
Hancock has a soul mate, but they can’t be together because to do so might open them both to mortal wounds. What kind of sense does that make? Soul mates are supposed to uplift and inspire. Instead, the whole feel of the movie is sad.
Smith was shooting for action and drama but wound up with depressing and slightly boring. What little dramatic depth Hancock has is dancing the thin line between drama and just plain grim. People go to see action movies because of the fun, action and special effects. At least the movie delivers in the special effects department, which are seamless.
Smith really does a good job as Hancock; a superhero you love to hate. Jason Bateman as Ray, Hancock’s PR agent, is the comic relief of the film. His delivery without a crack of a smile is why Bateman’s now defunct show, Arrested Development, is so entertaining. Charlize Theron rounds out the cast as the love interest. I was pleasantly surprised to see the Oscar-winning actress in this role. I didn’t think action movies were her thing.
Do I recommend Hancock? No. Smith wanting to be a black action hero that kids look up to is commendable, but the curse words are too strong and frequent for kids.
The story is morbid, sad, and only somewhat interesting. Smith has always had the magic touch when it came to picking and creating good action flicks. Even though he was trying to do a different kind of action movie, Hancock still landed flat on its face.
I didn’t like it, which pains me to admit because I am an avid fan of every one of Smith’s movies; even I, Robot. Smith needs to go back to the drawing board and commit to responsible film making.