4 Stars
Year Released: 2003
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 127 minutes
Click to Expand Credits:

Okay, so “The Hulk” is finally out and I’ll try to keep this short and sweet as to not give away too much.
I have to admit, this film will be hard to review because, bottom line, it’s extremely hard to categorize. In a nutshell, Ang Lee has given us something unlike any other superhero film has delivered up till now. “The Hulk” stars Eric (Chopper) Bana as repressed scientist Bruce Banner, Jennifer Connelly once again as the hot girl who likes introverted scientist types – Betty, Nick “I’m fucking crazy” Nolte as Banner’s “I’m fucking crazy” father and Sam Elliot as Betty’s father, who happens to be head of the United States armed forces. This film has been described as a $150 million dollar family drama and that’s pretty accurate. It’s essentially a four member relationship circle where Bana is the one who contracts the ability to turn into a one man tornado, Nolte is the sick bastard who put him in that position and wields this power of genetic mutation like a kid with a gun, Connelly who is the only one who can cure poor Bana, and Sam Elliot who uses all the nations nuclear and tactical capabilities the way we’d order a pizza to stop Bana.
That said, the real star of the film is not the Hulk really, but Ang Lee himself. This film is a purely visceral experience. Think ‘good’ Sam Raimi (Evil Dead 2, The Gift) and not ‘hack’ Sam Raimi (Kevin Costner baseball movie, Spider-Man). It uses the metaphor of dreams throughout the picture and literally feels like a dream. He edits like a deranged comic book madman. Within one-minute of dialogue, Lee will literally try as many crazy wipes as George Lucas used on one entire “Star Wars” film. Lee has made a conscious decision to take his audience on a psychedelic hazy trip through Bruce Banner’s confused life and like he himself, you don’t always understand exactly what’s going on.
Okay, now the goods! I will say that it takes about an hour for Banner to finally turn into the Hulk and during that time, Lee weaves a long set up of character and mystery that isn’t exactly audience pleasing, but slow and simply real. THEN BANNER GETS PISSED! And BOOM! The Hulk comes to life with some of the most beautiful action sequences ever captured in an effects based film. YES, during close- ups the Hulk does look pretty fake, but when he is being a badass Lee preferred a documentary feel where the Hulk is beautifully large, clumsy and REAL! The fight sequences will leave you feeling exhausted and happy. The focus of the action is the little details. Remember how great the Cave Troll was in Lord of the Rings? It was because it looked and acted like a real being that has thoughts and emotions. This isn’t X-Men, Spider-Man or Daredevil. It never feels choreographed or “cool” and we never hear a song by P.O.D. or Staind singing about “flying hiiiiiigh!”
With that said, the film’s finale continues the family circle dynamic with earth shattering results that is dream like and TOTALLY artsy-fartsy, but at the same time really, really balsy.
Even having read this review I guarantee you will all walk out of the theatre scratching your head thinking, “What was that?” And I give Mr. Ang Lee credit for that. I can’t imagine any director asking for this much money to make this kind of film and for nothing else I thank him for that, but don’t get me wrong, “THE HULK” KICKS ASS! You will definitely get your summer ass kicked with this one. Is it better than X2? In the long run, probably not, but this is a completely different beast – it’s the Hulk damnit!

Posted on June 23, 2003 in Reviews by

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