The Incredible Hulk
By general consent, Ang Lee’s 2003 film Hulk was considered a flop. Five years on from its failure to win over fans of the Marvel Comic monster/superhero – and to clean up at the box office – comes this relaunch of the franchise now directed by action filmmaker Louis Leterrier (The Transporter) and starring Edward Norton in Eric Bana’s place. Markedly more commercial than Lee’s cerebral – and actually spot on – take on the Jekyll and Hyde tale of a mild-mannered scientist who’s exposure to gamma radiation transforms him into a raging, rampaging super-strong green giant, this new Hulk ditches plotting, characterisation and thematic concerns for all-out action, and little else.
Picking up where the previous film left off (and including a rather insulting summary of Lee’s effort during the credit sequence), the sequel finds Dr Bruce Banner hiding from the American military that wants to turn his alter ego into a weapon for use in a Brazilian favela. But events swiftly constrain to bring Banner back home, where he’s reunited with lover Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) and relentlessly pursued by Betty’s hawkish father, General Thunderbolt Ross (William Hurt). Disappointingly dumb, and lacking any feel for its source material, this anything but incredible Hulk fails even to deliver thrills, action or more cerebral chills.
Out now on general release.