VOD film review: Hancock
James R | On 20, Mar 2014
Director: Peter Berg
Cast: Will Smith, Jason Bateman, Charlize Theron
Watch Hancock online in the UK: All 4 / Netflix UK / Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Google Play
Unconscious on a bench, surrounded by empty bottles, Hollywood conventions tell us that Hancock (Smith) is a stereotypical person experiencing homelessness. In fact, he’s a superhero. It’s only when a kid wakes him up and points to the news that he heads skywards to catch criminals. The one problem? He damages more property than they do.
It’s only a matter of time before the people go all The Incredibles on Hancock and, after collectively calling him an bad word, arrest him. But luckily for LA’s most hated supe, PR guy Ray (Bateman) is on hand to repair Hancock’s image. Ray insists that Hancock deserves to be adored by one and all, praised for his life-saving work. After all, he is the only one of his kind.
45 minutes in, the laughs are present, the tone tongue-in-cheek. With a possible spark between Hancock and Ray’s wife, Mary (Theron), it promises to be a intriguing new take on the comic book genre. The villain – Happy Go Lucky’s Eddie Marsan – even has a hook for a hand for good measure. But then the script makes a misstep into serious, cheesy mode with the arrival of another hero.
As sparks fly everywhere, destroying buildings galore, our superhero seems to be losing his touch. Then in flies a back-story fresh from Mount Olympus, ready to save the day. But it’s too late – a poorly judged final act simply leaves everything in flux, a chaos born out of the playful mayhem from before.
Thank goodness, then, for Smith and Bateman, whose joint charisma keeps the film in flight; milking the material for all its worth, Bateman is amiable and amusing while Will’s red-eyed outsider cries out for sympathy – even after shouting abuse at everyone around him. In just an hour and a half, director Peter Berg delivers some entertaining and impressively concise exposition, but Hancock’s original concept doesn’t quite get off the ground.
Hancock is available on Netflix UK, as part of an £9.99 monthly subscription. It is also available on All 4 until 19th June 2021.