The Incredible Hulk (12A)



Action (2008)
112mins US

Starring: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt
Director: Louis Leterrier
Writer(s): Zak Penn, Edward Harrison
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Scientist Bruce Banner is poisoned by gamma radiation, thereby unleashing a brutal, destructive side to his tortured personality. Desperate to tame the beast within, Bruce becomes a recluse from family and friends, especially his sweetheart Betty Ross, who could be hurt or even killed by his unstoppable alter ego. As he searches for a cure, Bruce tries to evade the clutches of General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross and the military, who want to harness the power of the Hulk and use it for their own nefarious purposes. When a monstrous creation called The Abomination is let loose on society, Bruce must embrace his dark side to protect the people he loves.

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LondonNet Film Review
The Incredible Hulk

If at first you don't succeed, try again. Oscar-winning director Ang Lee's flawed 2003 film adaptation of the not-so-jolly green giant struggled to marry a ponderous screenplay with overblown action set pieces, and a central character who looked more like Shrek's dishevelled cousin than an unbridled force of rage...

Film Title: THE INCREDIBLE HULK. Photo Credit: Michael Gibson. Copyright:  2007 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.The emotional power of scientist Bruce Banner's struggle to tame the beast within was lost amidst a blitzkrieg of computer-generated mayhem. Five years on, director Louis Leterrier and screenwriters Zak Penn and Edward Norton are doomed to repeat the same mistakes in The Incredible Hulk, a lack lustre rewrite of the opening chapter of the Marvel Comics superhero. The eponymous behemoth still looks like giant plastic action figure rather than a living, breathing entity and even with all the technological advances since the 2003 film, Hulk doesn't interact seamlessly with live action elements or his co-stars. As if one unconvincing, digitally created monstrosity wasn't bad enough, the revamp introduces arch-foe Abomination, setting the scene for an effects-heavy climactic showdown in New York City that looks like a frenetically edited sequence from a video game.

Film Title: THE INCREDIBLE HULK. Photo Credit: Michael Gibson. Copyright:  2007 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.Leterrier condenses Banner's back-story - the exposure to gamma radiation and subsequent physical transformation - into the opening credits then begins promisingly in the favelas of Brazil where the scientist (Norton) is hiding from General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross (William Hurt) and the military. Unfortunately, US forces track down Banner, sparking a thrilling chase strongly reminiscent of the Moroccan rooftop pursuit in The Bourne Ultimatum. Banner escapes from the melee killing all of Ross's men except for Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), who yearns to possess the same ferocity and strength as the Hulk. So the military inject low levels of gamma into Blonsky's deep muscle and bone marrow, the catalyst for his metamorphosis into Abomination. Meanwhile, Banner tracks down his sweetheart Dr Elizabeth Ross (Liv Tyler) to engineer a cure.

Film Title: THE INCREDIBLE HULK. Photo Credit: Michael Gibson. Copyright:  2007 Universal Studios. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.Like its troubled hero, The Incredible Hulk is always looking over its shoulder at the past. The late Bill Bixby, who played Banner in the cult '70s TV series, appears in a snippet from the sitcom The Courtship Of Eddie's Father on a television screen, and Lou Ferrigno cameos as a university security guard. Composer Craig Armstrong also appropriates Joe Harnell's mournful theme tune for one scene.

Norton, one of the finest actors of his generation, cannot compete with the digital trickery. Every time he tries to tap into Banner's loneliness and despair, he's forced to step aside to make way for his lolloping alter ego, with whom we have no emotional connection. Tyler breathlessly delivers her lines as the Fay Wray-esque love interest, while Roth somehow keeps a straight face as he spits out excruciating one-liners. "How are you feeling man?" asks a soldier. "Like a monster!" snarls Blonsky. At least Ang Lee's film had the good sense to drop Incredible from the title.

- Kim Hu

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