The Incredible Hulk
Slow pacing and a muted sound production only add to the CGI disaster inflicted on what should have been a believable superhero created with 21st century technology. Instead, this Hulk — attributed to Rhythm & Hues Studios, Soho VFX, and Image Engine— isn't enough of an improvement over Ang Lee's shoddy version to satisfy cinema audiences who know to expect better. Even Edward Norton’s workmanlike performance is scuttled in the visual ineptness of a creature that should have retained some of the actor’s identity.
Pedestrian screenwriting by Zak Penn puts final insult to injury after a rushed credit sequence of exposition sets up scientist Bruce Banner as a refugee from his Jekyll and Hyde dilemma. Banner lives a stoic life in the Flavelas of Brazil where he studies with a martial arts master to control his shape-shifting anger when he isn’t working at a soft drink bottling factory as a non-paid consultant.
Back in the States, baneful General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross (William Hurt) brings in aging badass soldier Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) to capture Banner so that the military can use his volatile blood to create a new type of military fighting machine. A love story sub-plot between General Ross’ daughter Betty (Liv Tyler) gives the movie what little narrative friction there is between battle scenes of a video-game-quality Hulk flipping cars and taking on one very souped up rival monster. "The Incredible Hulk" is a dud.
Rated PG-13. 112 mins. (C-) (One star — out of five / no halves)