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November 2008
Hancock (DVD REVIEW)

by Kam Williams

Hancock (DVD REVIEW)

Actors: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, Johnny Galec
Director: Peter Berg
Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
Language: English
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Number of discs: 1
Rating: PG - 13
Studio: Sony Pictures
DVD Release Date: November 25, 2008
Run Time: 92 minutes
DVD Extras: Five featurettes.


Underwhelming DVD Features Will Smith as Alcoholic Superhero

John Hancock (Will Smith) is a superhero who has fallen out of favor with the public, and for good reason. First of all, he’s usually drunk and draped across a bench in downtown L.A. where he routinely harasses pedestrians, whether cursing curious little kids or trying to molest attractive women.

Worse, when he springs into action as his crime-fighting alter ego, Hancock tends to cause more trouble than he’s preventing. Just as he bottoms out he is offered a chance at redemption by Ray (Jason Bateman), a stranger he rescues from a car stuck on train tracks and about to be slammed into by a locomotive.

Grateful Ray diagnoses that all Hancock really needs is an image overhaul, so he convinces his reluctant rescuer to try counseling and to wear a superhero outfit in order to look the part. Trouble is Hancock has a big secret, which even he is unaware of because he’s suffering from amnesia. But his memory starts to come back when Ray brings him home to meet the wife (Charlize Theron).

The fatal flaw of this spoof of the superhero genre is the fact that the protagonist isn’t even likable. Who would opt to cast the ever-charming French Prince against type as a surly, foul-mouthed misanthrope? Nobody wants to root for a creep who calls women by the b-word, bullies children and makes a pass at the spouse of the only guy willing to help him.

Equally-annoying is the awkward, improbable and terribly twisted plotline which can only be comprehended with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight once all the pieces of the puzzle have finally been revealed. I’m not even sure how I would explain the resolution to an inquiring child incapable of such contorted mental calisthenics.

Don’t expect to laugh and you won’t be disappointed.