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The Incredible Hulk
Blu-ray + 4K
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Academy Award nominee Edward Norton stars as scientist Bruce Banner, a man who has been living in shadows, scouring the planet for an antidote to the unbridled force of rage within him: the Hulk. But when the military masterminds who dream of exploiting his powers force him back to civilization, he finds himself coming face to face with his most formidable foe: the Abomination -– a nightmarish beast of pure aggression whose powers match the Hulk's own!
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Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) is hiding out somewhere in South America, looking for a cure for his gamma-induced affliction, trying to keep his temper in check, keeping a low profile and avoiding a certain General Ross (William Hurt) who intends to make an army of super-soldiers from his own D.N.A.. After being pursued by a team led by Emil Blonsky (Eli Roth), Banner returns to America to pursue a cure and asks longtime love Betty Ross (Liv Tyler) for her help in finding a man named "Mr. Blue" who may be able to cure him of his gamma-powered alter-ego. Blonsky is hot on their trail and asks Ross to experiment further with the workings of gamma radiation and cellular manipulation with him as the guinea pig. Blonsky is a man who wants power--at any cost.
The origin of the Hulk has been re-written from its 2003 version. Banner is a scientist who is unknowingly performing experiments on gamma applications to try to replicate a serum based on a World War II super-soldier serum (Captain America anyone?) that apparently got out of hand. Ross wants it as a weapon (no surprise) and Banner is the victim. Readers of Marvel's "the ULTIMATES" may see some similarities and may applaud this move. It was a good move to incorporate a new script to this 2008 film and Louis Letterrier seems to be the right man for its directorial duties. The script by Zack Penn in the hands of this director still has the usual touches of human drama and a moody atmosphere but at a better pace than Lee's rendition of ol'greenskin.
The CGI effects is a step forward from its previous incarnation; an improvement but still not perfect. The Hulk looks more ferocious and feral than the 2003 version and the moments where he says "Hulk Smash" still puts a smile on my place. I was waiting on the line "Hulk is the Strongest one there is" but I guess this would ruin the film's mood, and become a bit too comical. The battle with the Abomination is the film's main draw. The fight is fierce, savage and above all, very hard-hitting. You feel the impact of the blows, and the snarls add a lot of animal-like ferocity. There is also quite a decent number of action sequences dispersed throughout the film. Banner's encounters with a Black-ops team in the first 20 minutes and with a small army contingent helps the film's pace. Hulk smashes cars, humvees, and crushes almost everything in sight; Hulk also "claps" with such devastation. There are also moments that put Hulk's relationship with Betty in the spotlight and the savage monster is truly only savage when provoked. Hulk gets to display some emotion and sensitivity in the presence of Betty. Nice touches, truly reminiscent of the comic book.
Edward Norton's Bruce Banner may well be a little underdeveloped but by now, the film is probably relying on the fans to know what he is all about. Banner has that nerdy look but at the same time, strong and determined. Banner trains in the Brazilian style martial arts to try to control his anger by discipline. I almost wanted him to say: "Hulk knows Kung fu" but thankfully that didn't materialize. Norton gives a strong performance as our tortured scientist, I rather thought that he displayed the right emotions when one is afraid of losing himself. William Hurt is an outstanding General "Thunderbolt" Ross, his character is reminiscent of the other ruthless ones, Hurt has played throughout his career. Ross is a man of duty and has that `someone needs to get their hands dirty' attitude that gives his character a lot of depth. Liv Tyler is on par with Jennifer Connelly's Betty Ross. She's the anchor that pulls Bruce through the hardened moments.
While the film has the tendency in becoming a bit overlong and fall to the pitfalls of too much melodrama and excessive display of human angst, the film has some cleverly placed bits of satire that assists the film's pace. You wouldn't believe Banner's attempts in communication in Portuguese; "..you wouldn't like me when I'm hungry." Stan Lee and Lou Ferrigno makes cameo appearances which also add some subtle bits of humor.
Ultimately, "Incredible Hulk" is a success and an effective reboot from Ang Lee`s 2003 version. The film managed to stay focused in its context of a "Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde" formula and the same time delivered a cleverly action-filled popcorn film that delivers the goods. There are hints of an underlying plan with Robert Downey's guest appearance and the hints of a "super-soldier" does give comic book fans something to look forward to. The film is a great comic book adaptation and it comes highly recommended from me who has seen Jade-Jaws' ups and downs since 1979.
HULK SAYS RECOMMENDED! [4- Stars]
So, blowing past the origin we find Dr. Banner discovering ways not get excited or "Hulk Out"!. With on screen data of the last time he had a "Hulk' incident, Banner is far from home and the many people who want his power for evil. Ed Norton does a fine job as Banner and this is so important to these films! The need for a gifted captivating star to fill the screen when there is no action! Toby Maguire, Christian Bale and Robert Downey Jr. have proven this!....along with great scripts and direction! Ed Norton and Liv Tyler have good chemistry and the tragic predicament they're in is heartfelt.
The Hulk action looks awesome and the CGI works well. Although I didn't have a problem with the CGI in the first film except for the Hulk growing to ridiculous proportions! The Hulk doesn't do any 3 mile jumps in this film, but we do see some new signature moves missed in the last installment....I won't spoil them for any of you!......they are cool as........... H E L L !
Over all this film is better than the first film, but I will consider this 'The Hulk 2' in my book. You would think not having the origin to take up screen time, they would be able to tell a thorough story, but the film seems to have a lot going on and time seems to be running out! I don't think the franchise has peaked yet and there is 'still' a great Hulk film to be made... now that they have started to repair the series, I hope they make a third installment, that can take the time to have a little fun with the character. Instead of the third film in a series being the worst all the time, it might be the best for a change! I rate this film 3 3/4 stars! ;-b