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WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Scene 1: Alcoholic super-hero Hancock (Smith) leaves a trail of devastation everywhere he goes, so instead of people loving him and thanking him for saving the city from crime, they hate him for all the destruction he causes.
Scene 2: Worthy – and so unsuccessful – PR guru Ray (Bateman) fails to persuade a major pharmaceutical firm to give away a new treatment free of charge in order to be able to display his “all heart” logo.
Scene 3: Unsuccessful but worthy PR guru Ray meets alcoholic and unpopular super-hero Hancock in dramatic circumstances and – well – you can work out the rest.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

Actually…from the first three scenes, you can work out what SHOULD be the rest.
Unfortunately, after about an hour of a highly original, unusually moralistic but typically fun and fast-moving super-hero movie, there’s a twist that turns the film into something else entirely – something you won’t have signed up for if the plot summary and trailer are what attracted you to the cinema.
What starts out as an energetic, exciting and thoroughly enjoyable romp turns into more of a Shakespearean tragedy about a doomed love affair.
This is a terrific shame, because until this point, it would probably have been a four-star film, but rather than (and I wouldn’t normally urge any film-maker to do this) drag out the initial story for a little longer and finish the movie a little earlier, they added a twist which took the film in a whole new direction, posing questions you didn’t even know you had and leaving them unanswered.
The initially cantankerous and later conflicted anti-hero is one of cinema’s more interesting characters, portrayed with his typical enthusiasm by Will Smith and good-guy Jason Bateman is as likeable – and helpless – as you might know him from TV’s Arrested Development. Charlize Theron as Bateman’s grumpy and over-protective wife is less convincing.

opens nationwide 2nd July 2008

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