The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk
Made in: USA, Canada (location)
Language: English
Director: Louis Leterrier
Starring: Edward Norton, Liv Tyler, Tim Roth, William Ross, Tim Blake Nelson, Lou Ferrigno (voice)

Synopsis: Dr. Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) is on the run. After a freak lab accident exposes him to gamma radiation, he gains the strange ability to turn into the monstrous hulk. The hulk transformation occurs after his heart rate reaches a certain number of BPM.

The US military wants to harness the power of Banner's mutation to create a weapon, and General Ross (William Hurt) is on a relentless search for the scientist. Banner, meanwhile, is hiding out in Brazil where he frantically searches for a cure.

His only ally is a mysterious scientist known by the code name 'Mr. Blue' (Tim Blake Nelson). Soon, Banner returns to the US where he once again reunites with former flame Betty Ross (Liv Tyler). She also happens to be General Ross' daughter.

To make matters more difficult, General Ross enlists the help of Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), a British Royal Marine, to aid in the hunt for the not-so-jolly green giant.

After voluntarily undergoing drastic genetic treatment, Blonsky becomes The Abomination, a monstrous creature that the Incredible Hulk will have to go fist-to-fist with on the streets of New York City!

The Good: The Incredible Hulk is more fast-paced and straight-forward than Ang Lee's original. Although I didn't necessarily find Lee's interpretation of Hulk to be all that bad, this version delivers more of the hard-hitting action that's more appropriate for pure entertainment value.

Edward Norton is an unusual choice for Bruce Banner, but plays a very likeable hero nonetheless. Tim Roth is great as always, and he genuinely seems to be having a lot of fun as the main nemesis.

The action sequences are intense, and the Hulk vs Abomination showdown is just the right length. Cameos by Stan Lee, Lou Ferrigno, and Robert Downey Jr were enjoyable. Self-reflective references to the original series also added a nice touch of humor and nostalgia.

The Bad: Liv Tyler isn't given much to do, and as good as Tim Roth is, he doesn't have enough backstory to make you want to despise him.

The action sequences are way too implausible, and even for a comic book movie, I found it hard to to suspend my disbelief for more than a few minutes at a time.

The depth of actors such as Edward Norton and Tim Roth make you wonder if there's more to the story, and you'll probably have to keep reminding yourself that this is a straight-forward, minimal-thinking storyline. The resulting conflict leaves the movie feeling incomplete.

Who would like this movie: The Incredible Hulk is for you if you're a fan of Marvel Comic Book characters and/or if you're in the mood for a simple action movie. The special effects were pretty impressive overall (although not entirely convincing).

This movie is far less cerebral than its predecessor, but almost goes a little too far to appeal to the lowest common denominator. You can almost feel a sense of self-consciousness on the part of the filmmakers, as though every scene of this picture was being painstakingly compared to Ang Lee's version in an effort to deliver the right product to the audience.

It's an energetic action movie, as it's expected to be, but doesn't quite hit the 'extraordinary' mark.

(2 and 1/2 stars out of 4)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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