Hancock Movie Review— Hollywood Masala All The Way!

When TIME Magazine’s reviewer Richard Corliss wrote about Hancock on July 1st, 2008, he dedicated a significant portion of his review reflecting on the uselessness of reviewing a film that Will Smith headlines. His theory is that Will Smith is one of the last Stars of Hollywood for whom the audience will line up to watch irrespective of how the film is. This is exactly the case with Hancock. The is a masala film, which would have fallen flat on its face if it was anybody else other than Will Smith.

We are usually accustomed to a super hero to have some flashback or history: Superman came from the planet Krypton, Spiderman was bit by a spider, and the more contemporary Iron Man engineered himself out his genious. However, such a history is not built for Hancock. We are introduced to him as almost a wager bond, home less guy, who smells like a bar, doesn’t care for anybody, and wrecks havoc to the tune of millions whenever the saves anybody with his super powers. The biggest difference between Hancock and other well known super heros is that the people of his city hate him for his recklessness. At this point, enters Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman) who is a Public Relations consultant trying to sell his idea of how corporate giants can make this world a better place and improve their public image. In an accidental meeting with Hancock, Ray expresses his wish to change Hancock’s public image. Hancock agrees and surrenders to the police. From this point on, Hancock begins to change and is even called by the police for help. Just when you think that the story is over and what could possibly be next, comes a stunning twist. This twist gives us a brief explanation about who Hancock really is and how he got these powers. Yes, there is a villain and finally its all about how Hancock battles his troubles and saves his lady love.

The film belongs entirely to Will Smith. His characterization in the beginning is full of mass-masala. Will Smith’s introduction scene was received like any other Indian Super Star’s–with whistles and cheers in Hi-Tech 70mm Theater, Madhapur, Hyderabad. The drawback of the film is that the audience has to simply accept the fact that Hancock is a super hero who can fly faster than a speeding bullet or missile and whirl around objects like a tornado. The background for Hancock is missing and even the reason for the powers, which comes towards the end is just dialogue and vague. For a hero with such powers, there is no villain. However, a villian is created towards the end, but it was not done well. Agreed, these are major drawbacks in the film, but the film is full of scenes and sequences that provide masala entertainment and were received with whistles and cheers:

  • Hancock’s introductory scene and opening fight sequence. Particularly, the way Hancock sticks the car into a monument.
  • All the scenes where Hancock shoots into the air like a bullet, crashes on the roads, lifts, pulls and whirls objects into the sky.
  • Hancock saving Ray from the train crash and the subsequent scenes where he gets crushed under the engine causing it to stop, and how it leaves the remaining compartments to pile up on one another.
  • The scenes where Hancock gets irritated when anybody refers to him as “asshole”.
  • When Ray shows Hancock his public image on YouTube.
  • The strange [almost sexual] tension between Ray’s wife Mary (Charlize Theron) and how she reacts when he tries to make advances towards her. This is the twist.
  • The sequence where Hancock is ‘testing’ Mary.
  • How Hancock plays basketball with his jail inmates.
  • How Hancock sticks up a guy’s head in to another’s ass. [yea, gross to hear, but it gets the audience going]
  • When Hancock first shaves with his nails, wears his armor, and applauds the police officers with “good job”.
  • In the liquor store when Hancock realizes that his powers are failing him.

In addition to Will Smith, the masala elements, the twist, it is the loneliness of Hancock and his emotions that strike a chord with us. Will Smith convinces us that he is reckless because there is nobody to care for him. In fact, the the climax is high on emotions and feels like straight out of an Indian masala film—blood, fighting, heroine and hero in the hospital on the ventilator. But strangely though, it pulls itself well and the last sequence where Hancock is saving his love’s life is high on emotion and action.

The story is not that convincing, but some great sequences, intense emotions, humor, and Will Smith’s Star persona make this film worth a watch. This film too has released on the weekend of July 4th in the US, the American Independence Day, and like always this Will Smith film too is a blockbuster (six times since 1996). This film has been released in India on July 11th, 2008 in multiple regional languages and given its masala elements of a waster super hero, action, and emotions it should appeal to regional audience as well. The film has opened to packed houses all over in Hyderabad city. Parents should know that there is a brief use of abusive language.

Mr. Inkenti’s Movienomics Verdict: One Thumb Up! Definitely worth a watch!

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