[Review]A smashing success for ‘The Incredible Hulk’

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[Review]A smashing success for ‘The Incredible Hulk’

While watching “The Incredible Hulk,” I couldn’t help but experience deja vu.

In this film, the United States’ military aggressively seeks out volatile defense technology. Then said technology gets into the hands of a power-drunk person. Suddenly, what should have been the U.S.’s most powerful weapon turns out to be its most powerful nemesis, and it’s up to the agent possessing the technology to harness it for good.

Sounds an awful lot like “Iron Man,” doesn’t it?

I sat through The Incredible Hulk ? which is actually pretty entertaining ? preparing to write it off as a wannabe Iron Man. Then the concluding scene tied it all together.

I’m trying to exercise some restraint with the spoilers here, so forgive me for not being exactly forthcoming. But for the sequel, just think: “The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones,” only in superhero form.

But while both Hanna-Barbera cartoons were worlds apart in chronology, they had corresponding domestic characters and story lines.

Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk both take place in the present, but they’re completely different in their tone and characters.

Iron Man is an unlikely blend of lighthearted wisecracks and explosive action sequences. The Incredible Hulk, however, is a more traditional, serious superhero story along the lines of Spider-Man. Whereas Tony Stark is busy bedding babes and livin’ large with his vast fortune, Bruce Banner lives in squalor and broods over his lost life.

The film opens with Banner (Edward Norton) in Brazil, hiding from the U.S. Army. Banner wants nothing more than to contain and destroy his superpower, which he gained through gamma radiation, in order to return to his normal life in the States. However, the U.S. Army, led by General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt), wants to capture Banner, dissect him and harness his power for their own benefit.

Once General Ross gets a clue about Banner’s whereabouts, he launches an operation to bring Banner down, armed with a special agent, Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), an aging soldier. But when the unprepared Blonsky witnesses the Hulk’s power, he becomes obsessed with attaining superhuman strength of his own.

Roth as Blonsky was a great casting choice, as his muscular, yet small build and lined face make him all the more believable as a strength-hungry soldier.

And while the nerdy-yet-handsome Norton isn’t exactly the hunk that Eric Bana was in 2003’s miserable “Hulk,” he’s more believable as a somewhat bumbling scientist. Norton is at the top in terms of acting ability, and he adroitly portrays Banner’s tortured soul through the simplest change in his eyes.

If there’s anyone who’s a bit unbelievable in her role, it’s Liv Tyler as Dr. Betty Ross, Banner’s long-lost girlfriend. Tyler is as ethereally beautiful as she’s ever been, hardly the cooped-up-in-a-lab type. Gorgeousness aside, Tyler is passable as Betty, if a bit on the meek side ? with the exception of a backseat road rage scene with a New York cabbie.

But can slapstick blend with stolid in the sequel? We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

The Incredible Hulk

Action, Sci-Fi / English

114 min.

Now playing

By Hannah Bae Contributing Writer [hannahbae@gmail.com]

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