Monday, June 23, 2008

Film Review: The Incredible Hulk

After Ang Lee's debacle of Hulk film a few years back, most movie-goers have been a bit cautious about the new Incredible Hulk film starring Ed Norton as the afflicted Bruce Banner - whose anger management problems oft-result in mayhem, destruction and a lot of torn t-shirts and purple shorts. Well, V-Listers Marc and Michael ventured into Marvel's Incredible Hulk this past weekend and are happy to say that we made it out alive and pleasantly surprised by this quasi-sequel. Before you spend some green on the big greenie, here's our take.

5. Locations
The location scout for this film deserves a medal. Much like the Bourne movies, this film has been very, very smart about choosing settings that are incredibly conducive to action and surprise. First, an incredible hilled town in Brazil. The helicopter shots are fantastic. And what better place to put a ticking time bomb like the Hulk than in a vastly overpopulated area filled with danger at every turn? Kudos!

4. Humor
Lots of clever in-jokes and not-so-in-jokes throughout the film keep it lively. I mean, a guy gets green and outgrows his clothes every time his heart rate gets too high. If you can't find the humor there, you're just Ang Lee and Eric Bana. (Oh, snap!)

3. Plot

While I'm pleased they returned to the "chase" concept for the story, much like the old TV show with the late Bill Bixby and Lou Ferigno (who get very sweet moments in the film), the film lacked a lot in terms of plot points. Where it benefits from simplicity, the movie also suffers from a real lack of surprises and character development in the story department.

2. Performances

Spot on. William Hurt, Liv Tyler, the introspective Ed Norton, the wicked Tim Roth and the zany Tim Blake Nelson bring a profound sense or reality to this outlandish story. A big step up from the last film.

1. The Payoff

The action and effects are great in this. Time and seeing it on a small screen will tell just how good the details are. And I really respect that they didn't shy away from the violence. It was tough without being excessive. That said, the film's climax left something to be desired. Again, likely a function of the weak plot. There wasn't enough meat to bite into early on, so it couldn't be the overly satisfying meal it wanted to be. The Incredible Hulk is a first-class hamburger as an intelligent action flick - but a tough as a two-dollar steak as a film feast. So if you're up for a smart and fun ride, totally hulk out with this film.