Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


THE INCREDIBLE HULK (2008). Director: Louis Leterrier.

The second big-screen Hulk movie is better than the first, although it's still no world-beater. The film begins in Portugal, with Bruce Banner (Ed Norton) -- the alter ego of the Hulk -- on the run from government agents. Frankly, I have no idea what people who wandered into the movie theater with friends and aren't familiar with the character would make of it, as only ambiguous flashbacks ever really tell who Banner is or how he turned into a giant green monster with muscles. [I watched this with a friend, who is not a comic book fan, who turned to me and said "I've been watching this for two hours and I still don't know what it's about." For the record, back in 1963 in the first issue of The Incredible Hulk comic book, Bruce Banner was mutated when he was caught in the explosion of a gamma bomb. He turns into the Hulk whenever he gets angry or agitated.] Banner's girlfriend, Betty Ross, is played by Liv Tyler [another pretty Hollywood actress who has deformed her face with misshapen collagen lips]. Banner eventually comes to blows with an old comic book adversary, the even-more-hideous Abomination, a former soldier well-played by Tim Roth. William Hurt is fine as General Ross, who is out to capture or kill Banner/Hulk at any cost. Unlike in the old comics, Banner has absolutely no concern for any innocents who might get killed when he's on a rampage -- he's utterly self-centered. Good FX, but it all becomes rather wearisome long before the conclusion. Tyler and Norton give good performances.

Verdict: Enough with the Hulk already! **1/2.

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