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Hulk (2003)

Film review: Hulk (2003), directed by Ang Lee

Of the times the comic book superhero (?) the Hulk has been adapted for TV or film, we could mention the old TV series starring Lou Ferrigno (who does a cameo as a security guard in this one, along with the legendary Stan Lee), The Incredible Hulk (2008), starring Edward Norton, or … this one. So they did this one and a mere five years later, there was a need to do another one? Yes. Yes, there was. We saw The Incredible Hulk at the cinema and I don’t remember being too impressed by it, but having seen this one I can understand why people prefer the newer version.

Hulk stars Eric Bana as Bruce Banner, a nerdy scientist who likes moss and who grew up with adoptive parents because his own parents died when he was a child. Bruce has a girlfriend, Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly), who is the daughter of general Ross (Sam Elliott). There are also rich boy Talbot (Josh Lucas) who wants to get his hands on Bruce’s research into nanobots, and a man who turns up as a new janitor at the research facility (Nick Nolte) and says he’s Bruce’s real father … oooh the suspense.

There’s also an experiment in the lab that goes wrong – Bruce is subjected to the nanobots and lots of gamma radiation and after that, whenever he gets cross, he turns green and huge and, you know, hulks out. Cue lots of caveman grunting and shouting, smashing things and … smashing things some more. Which is essentially why the Hulk never makes for very good viewing. Once you’ve seen Bruce Banner go green and shout “RAAAAAAARGHHH!!!” and smash things, the rest gets very samey. “Oh great, you pissed him off, there he goes again. Seen it. Yawn.”

If you do all of the above while using really cheesy transitions as well, it’s not a good combination. Sure, the transitions are made to make the film look like a comic book, but they really don’t work. When the first one came on screen, I turned to Mr T and said “seriously?” to which he gleefully responded, “Just you wait, it gets even better!”

Another issue is an overly long helicopter sequence. Three helicopters transporting something from point A to point B. You can tell this in a few seconds, because you get the idea very quickly. This is a scene that was dragged out for no reason, other than to have shots of helicopters from many angles at the same time (split screen bonanza, think 24). It could have been cut down a lot. Okay, so they’re in helicopters, nothing happens on the way, fine, we get it. No need to take a couple of minutes to show something that could’ve been told in 20 seconds flat.

“Are there ANY redeeming features of this film?” you might ask. Yes, I can think of one. Okay, two, if you like Sam Elliott; (which I do) his cowboy in The Big Lebowski always has me thinking “Look, it’s Thom Merrilin!” The big redeeming feature is Eric Bana, and I do mean that for very shallow reasons. Those dark, brown eyes …

Cheesetastic transitions, a humdrum story about a big green guy in purple shorts who has an anger management issue and likes to smash things, and a girl with daddy issues, a psychotic dad and one that’s just over-protective … and it’s all a bit meh. Not really worth the bother.

1.8 out of 5 mutant poodles.


An easily distracted Swedish introvert residing in Robin Hood Country (Nottingham, UK) with a husband and two cats. She's an eager participant in tabletop and play-by-post roleplaying, woodworking, photography and European travel, when there's not a plague on.

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