In this new beginning, scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) desperately hunts for a cure to the gamma radiation that poisoned his cells and unleashes the unbridled force of rage within him: The Hulk.
Ang Lee's 'Hulk' (2003) is an excellent movie, unjustly maligned and looked upon as some kind of big, green cinematic pariah; Ang 'don't make him Anglee' Lee, simply doesn't get the credit he deserves for creating an impressive, almost flawless symbiosis of clinical character study, wistful, melancholic meditation on an ordinary life-gone-wrong and intense, balls-to-the-wall Hulk action. Bana's Bruce Banner / Hulk was a man betrayed at every turn, so much so, that his greatest fear (i.e. uncontrollable rage) became his only hope for self preservation in the face of constant treachery and his own, pompous delusions of academic grandeur; hence the psychomachy of Bana vs. Hulk, externalised in the battle against the powers that be, and the strained loyalties of his supposed true love Betty Ross (Jennifer Connelly). Betty, a complex character herself, is, like Bruce, used as a pawn in her military father's grand chessboard of move & violent countermove, with old rivalries forced upon a new generation through the malice & greed of those in the upper echelons of power; back and forth; as if trapped in an Aeschylian pinball machine, with scars as deep as strife was long in the house of Atreus. Louis 'Transporter' Leterrier's 'The Incredible Hulk' puts all that in the bin. With a good cast, the movie rolls along at a tolerable pace, though if I were Ang Lee, I'd be none too pleased that the suits at 'Marvel' completely ignore 'Hulk' and practically start over. Ed Norton, one of the best actors working today, is surprisingly unconvincing as Bruce Bana, CGI is of a notably poor standard when compared to 2003; with Hulk looking more like a five year old's drawing, pulled directly from the Kitchen fridge door and accidently rendered / released in a multi-million dollar production. Liv Tyler is OK as Betty Ross; though she's nowhere near as intense as Jennifer Connelly, whilst William Hurt's performance as General Ross is about the same as Sam Elliot's take on the character. Tim Roth is at his villainous best, accurately managing to convey violent megalomania as a British soldier working for the Americans (perhaps a sly dig at our government's sycophantic subservience to U.S. military endeavours overseas). Leterrier's action sequences are quite exciting and shot at a frenzied pace, and though most of the jokes die a death, I loved the fact that they used Bill Bixby's 'Lonely Man' theme from 'The Incredible Hulk' TV series. Overall, this makes for a decent enough blockbuster, and Robert Downey Jr.'s cameo as Tony 'Iron Man' Stark sets up the long awaited 'Avengers' movie, expect similar appearances in the upcoming 'Thor' 'Captain America' and 'Nick Fury' pictures; for 'Marvel' intend to drag this on until summer 2010. Personally, I can't see Ed Norton signing any long term contracts after his experience at 'Paramount', but if its forgettable comic book adventure you're after, its worth soaking up some Gamma rays for another round with the (not so) jolly green giant: ARRRRAGH!...indeed.
Forget about Ang Lee's 2003 Hulk. This is the one to watch. More to the original series.
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play. Hailing more from the pulp-melancholic spirit of the 1978-1982 Hulk television series than its 2003 predecessor did, THE INCREDIBLE HULK wordlessly tells the entire gamma ray-afflicted origin story of scientist Bruce Banner's alter-ego within its first two-and-a-half minutes. This sequence makes at least two things clear. First off, the Edward Norton-starring THE INCREDIBLE HULK is not a sequel to or a remake of the 2003 THE HULK, but a reboot complete with an alternate plot, a new dynamic, and a different set of rules. Second, director Louis Leterrier (UNLEASHED, THE TRANSPORTER) intends to deliver an economically paced, tightly wound thriller in which drama and action scenes are not mutually exclusive.
Academy Awardr nominee Edward Norton stars as scientist Bruce Banner, a man who has been living in shadows, scouring the planet for an antidote to the unbridled force of rage within him: the Hulk. But when the military masterminds who dream of exploiting his powers force him back to civilization, he finds himself coming face to face with his most formidable foe: the Abomination - a nightmarish beast of pure aggression whose powers match the Hulk's own!