“The Incredible Hulk”
Starring: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, William Hurt, Tim Blake Nelson, and Tim Roth
Written By: Zak Penn
Directed By: Louis Leterrier
In 2003, they made a movie out of everybody’s favorite big green superhero, except it sucked and nobody saw it. In 2008, they tried again. Again, nobody saw it, but at least it didn’t suck.
The 2008 installment of “The Incredible Hulk” is a great popcorn film. It takes not time getting started as we first discover Dr. Bruce Banner (Norton) hiding out in South America trying to find a cure for being the Hulk and hoping the government doesn’t track him down.
This all goes haywire, as one would imagine, as his blood makes its way into a bottle of soda from the plant at which he works. From this, we’re treated to a thrilling chase through some Brazilian streets as Maj. Emil Blonsky (Roth) and a team of commandos attempt to capture Banner under the direction of General Thaddeus Ross (Hurt). They’re unsuccessful as the Hulk emerges from Banner and he eventually decides to head to America in order to meet a scientist he thinks can cure him.
From there, he reconnects with ex-girlfriend Dr. Betty Ross (Tyler) stealing her from her fiancé very easily and engages in a campus-wide battle with Blonsky who’s begun to get treatment similar to that which had made Banner the Hulk. More action ensues from there, but the ending needn’t be spoiled.
As one would imagine, this movie is simply non-stop fun. We don’t get the deep introspection that is vogue in superhero movies these days. It’s eschewed in favor of quickly setting up action pieces, and the film proves there is nothing wrong with that approach because when the cast is great the actors can provide multi-level characters without having the plot beat its characters’ depth into our heads.
The result is an amusing brisk action film that gets the job done in less than two hours. This will never be hailed as a landmark of the comic book genre, but it certainly won’t be remembered as a dud like its predecessor.
Verdict: RENT IT
- Liv Tyler this week as she and Scott Speedman face the terror of “The Strangers”.
- Fans of the “Grindhouse” films can check out Michael Madsen in all his badass glory in “Hell Ride”.
- Ben Stein takes a look at why the scientific community refuses to even launch the most rudimentary investigation of Intelligent Design in “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”.
- Finally, The Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch directs the documentary “Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot” which takes a look at the nation’s top High School basketball players, like Michael Beasely and Jerry Bayless, as they compete in the Rucker Park Elite 24 Tournament.
TV ON DVD
- Proving that the target audience of “Family Guy” is morons, that series releases its “Freakin’ Sweet complete with all the equipment required for a night of Ping (see: “Beer”) Pong and enough recycled Simpsons jokes to fill a high school variety show.
- Fans of the classics will rejoice that both “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and “The Outer Limits” release their full seasons on DVD.
- Also, “According to Jim” releases its first season today on DVD. The sad thing about that is that there are still seven more seasons to come. At least.
SPECIAL EDITION OF THE WEEK
The folks at Criterion always do a great job, and this week they’ve given their one-of-a-kind treatment to the Jack Lemmon classic “Missing”. Lemmon earned an Oscar nomination for his role as a father teaming with his missing son’s wife (the also-nominated Sissy Spacek) to learn his fate amidst the political turmoil of the Chilean coup of 1973.
The new Criterion edition features several video interviews with the cast and director as well as an interview with the author of the declassified documents detailing the true story behind the events of the film.
HORRIBLE STRAIGHT-TO-DVD RELEASE OF THE WEEK
Remember when a film tagged with the National Lampoon brand meant that it was funny? Well, those days are over as that brand has found itself onto every lowbrow piece of buffoonery produced in the 21st century.
This week, they reach even lower with the story of sleazy medical attorney who meets the first doctor he can’t sue in “RoboDoc”. Of course, that doctor happens to be a busty blonde, so you can imagine that her robobreasts will make several appearances in a film that features sitcom castoffs David Faustino and Alan Thicke.