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The Incredible Hulk

Released: 2008

Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Runtime: 1 hr 45 min

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Louis Leterrier

Starring: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, Tim Blake, Nelson Hurt, William Hurt

Bruce Banner tries to deal with his anger management problems – with incredible results.

A mediocre and completely flat, superficial superhero movie.

Review by: JerrySaravia

Added: 8 years ago

Why on earth did Edward Norton make a boring Hulk movie? Why do moviegoers hate Ang Lee's "Hulk" so much? Why even bother with essentially reimagining or remaking, or whatever you want to call it these days, the 2003 box-office bust that was "Hulk"? These questions plagued me while watching "The Incredible Hulk," which is a mediocre and completely flat, superficial superhero movie that tries to do too much and accomplishes too little.

Edward Norton initially makes a convincingly scrawny Bruce Banner, living in Brazil and working at a soda factory. He has maintained communication with a genetic scientist who may know how to cure Bruce's Green Giant anger problem. Unfortunately, a drop of Bruce's blood that accidentally falls into an open soda bottle is all that is needed to raise awareness from the government and the sour, unemotional General Ross (William Hurt). The military arrives armed and ready to shoot Bruce Banner, though there is a new foe, a Marine named Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), who is interested in acquiring a sample of that genetic Hulk pool. Most plaguing question: if General Ross only wants to capture the Hulk and use him as a weapon, how is killing Bruce Banner going make that possible? The answer may be that the General will use Blonsky as his new guinea pig, though the script never quite makes that clear. Nevertheless, Betty Ross (the pallid Liv Tyler) is waiting in the wings for Bruce to show up, despite being lovey-dovey with a new beau. How can anyone compete with the Green Giant? Oh, well, he has one deficiency - he can't get too excited and have sex.

The origin plot of the Incredible Hulk since its inception in the late 60's never made a lot of sense - what is the point of using a genetically-engineered Hulk as a secret weapon when his animal instincts cause him to destroy everything in his path? Does that not defeat the purpose, General Ross? Yes, I am asking you, Mr. Ross. Of course, that would not matter if the film was entertaining and thrilling. Face it: the sight of an enormous Hulk wrecking havoc is always fun to watch. And the scenes where Hulk destroys a few vehicles on a college campus is exciting and nifty...and just as dispiriting. The lack of spirit can be attributed to director Louis Letterier ("Transporter") and star Edward Norton who seem to go through the motions. Numerous action-filled moments of Hulk throwing a car or a tank in the air or causing the ground beneath him to break become monotonous. So does Edward Norton, who never quite infuses Bruce Banner or the Hulk with any personality or any depth to his anger issues. Norton never becomes convincingly angry either, and how can Edward Norton of "American History X" never come across as convincingly angry? It just seems like a disservice to have a weakling still come across as a tall green-skinned weakling with muscles - there is no real sense of transformation or urgency. The theme seems to be this: Hulk loves to smash.

A big mistake is the casting of Tim Roth, who comes across as evil, mean and most certainly angry, though it is such a one-dimensional character that it is hard to care whether he lives or dies - he is just a mean prick from the beginning. Perhaps Tim Roth should've played Bruce Banner - he might have come closer to tapping into that inner rage that is the Hulk in all of us. Eric Bana came close but the late Bill Bixby fully accomplished that goal. This is where a good screenplay is needed, folks. The cast of characters are limp and underwritten. William Hurt delivers no zeal or emotion as the angry General Ross. Compare Hurt's take to Sam Elliott's in the 2003 Hulk and you see a world of difference. Ditto for Liv Tyler who is uncharismatic and lifeless that I can't believe this is the same actress from "Lord of the Rings" or even "Heavy." And she scores a -15 on any chemistry with Norton. Check out Jennifer Connelly from, once again, the 2003 Hulk for a more well- rounded character.

This "Hulk" film is a dull disaster with an unconvincing love story, non-threatening villains, lots of amped-up explosions, and a lead character who hardly seems to be the same person that becomes the Hulk. For a fully developed and humanistic take on a raging Hulk and a complex Bruce Banner who wishes for the beast to be expunged, check out the TV series or the 2003 Hulk. This droning Hulk of a movie is for the birds.