The Incredible Hulk (2008) Review
Starring: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Hurt
Directed by: Louis Leterrier
Screenplay written by: Zak Penn
Tagline: On June 13, get ready to unleash the beast.
Hulk Bore! Again!
In A Nutshell
Cellular biologist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) was involved in a genetic accident that left him with the unstoppable ability to transform into a nine-foot, green-skinned superhuman whenever his heart rate raised. The plot picks up 5 years after the accident with Bruce in hiding in Brazil as the Hulk has been responsible for multiple deaths and mass destruction, and General Thaddeus Ross (William Hurt), father of Bruce's now-estranged girlfriend Betty (Liv Tyler) has made it his life's mission to find and destroy him.
The special effects used to bring the Hulk to life are pretty good, and detail in body musculature and facial expressions are strong, but he really doesn't have much to do once the transformation occurs.
It has a few effective scenes, such as a touching one between Bruce and Betty in a cave.
Paying tribute and giving the nod to Lou Ferrigno (playing the security guard and the voice of the Hulk), and to Bill Bixby. They even threw in the "Lonely Man" theme from the TV show.
William Hurt does a decent job as "Thunderbolt" Ross, but his character isn't developed as he's only interested in acquiring a new weapon for the military whereas the character in the 2003 version was more complex.
The high point came right at the end where a cameo appearance from Tony Stark (Iron Man) propositions general Ross in regards of putting a 'team' together.
Fat & Gristle
Because "Hulk" is only five years old, it is virtually impossible not to compare it to "The Incredible Hulk" particularly since the unwise decision was made to start the series over from scratch.
Edward Norton's Hulk is surprisingly lackluster, much too muted and tepid. He's supposed to be a tormented Jeckel & Hyde, but instead shows entirely too little internal conflict and angst; he's wooden and inert. It's clear that Norton is doing it for the paycheck as he pretty much walks through his role as Bruce Banner.
Liv Tyler's performance wasn't believable, especially when they threw some thick rimmed glasses on her to make her look like a scientist. The romance plot was similarly anemic and drained of chemistry.
Tim Roth also seemed miscast as The Hulk's arch nemesis as he looks way too scrawny, middle-aged, seedy, and worn to be a crack soldier and his transformation into a killing machine is also unconvincing.
Any physical aggravation to the Hulk that would only make him angrier and stronger wasn't present in this movie.
The "epic" fight scene come to an end when The Hulk chokes out the Abomination…with a chain. Yes folks, a chain. These two characters rip through cars, tanks, and buildings, but the Abomination gets choked out with a chain?! That's like a fully able bodied man being strangled with a string of tissue paper.
A disappointing and anti-climactic ending to a mediocre second attempt to bring the not so jolly green giant to the big screen. It was a major improvement over the 2003 "Hulk" but it still has a long way to go as it was basically all action with little substance.
I'd go **1/2.
Things I Learned
- You can swallow a USB key, endure a radical molecular transformation, transform back, vomit the key out again, and have it work perfectly.
- Even though General Ross knows bullets won't hurt Hulk he still wastes ammunion by shooting guns at Hulk. You'd think he would have sense to not waste ammunition but he doesn't.
- I learned that most Marvel superheroes get their names from the first thing the media calls them, even if it is nothing more then the rambled offhand comments of snotty little college students with phone cameras.
- Is that all you got?!
- Lou Ferringo can be easily bribed with pizza.
- Don't startle the Hulk in a cave, or he'll bang his head on the roof and go nuts.
- The Hulk hates thunder.
- Gamma injections can easily corrupt the mind.
- Watch where you spill your gamma blood in the workplace.
- If M1 Abrams MBTs don't work in battling the Hulk, send in some Hummers, they will finish the job.
- Bruce will probably never enjoy the glory of sexual relations with Betty because "he can't get too exited".
- Two monsters can flip tons of cars in downtown NYC and have millions of things explode around them, and you will not have one fatality that doesn't include one of the monsters.
- The Hulk freezes in front of Betty even if he's in the heat of battle.
- Generals rather accomplish their goal with capturing fugitives even if it means putting their daughters in the path of exploding objects such as crashing helicopters and firing machine guns.
- The Hulk has an extremely limited vocabulary.
- If you get a crazy taxi driver in NYC, don't call the police. Just scream at him when you get out.
- "Hulk smash" will save the day, no matter what.
- Giant chains can let you win a battle even if your oppnoent is superior.