Living isolated while trying to find a cure to his gamma poisoning, Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) is hunted by the U.S. Military who are trying to capture him for the secret he carries inside; just don’t make him angry . . .
The Incredible Hulk is the second Hulk feature film, but the first tied directly linked to The Avengers movie franchise. While it is much better than Hulk (directed by Ang Lee), it is also a different sort of film. The Incredible Hulk is more of an action film. It is also a love letter to the 1970’s television series starring Bill Bixby and Lou Ferrigno. I enjoyed the hell out of the film.
While living in Rio de Janeiro, Bruce Banner is trying to lay low from the U.S. military and trying to discover a cure for his gamma radiation poisoning. When they discover where he is, they go after him; they want him because when his heart rate reaches 200 beats a minute he turns into a gigantic green monster rage monster. On the run from the military, he seeks the help of his ex-girlfriend Betty (Liv Tyler). Together the two of them travel to New York to seek the help of Dr. Samuel Sterns (Tim Blake Nelson), who believes he can remove the poisoning. There they are finally caught by General Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross (William Hurt) and Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth), a British Royal Marine genetically enhanced by Ross.
Directed by Louis Leterrier (Clash of the Titans, The Transporter), The Incredible Hulk is a thrilling, fast paced action film. Edward Norton is in fine form as Dr. Bruce Banner aka the Hulk, though this is not his best performance ever. He does bring a shot of class to the proceedings, as does Tim Roth. Liv Tyler does a good job as Dr. Betty Ross, the daughter of Gen. Thunderbolt Ross.
What this film does differently from the Ang Lee directed Hulk is focus more on the action elements rather than the metaphysical. You do get to see Hulk smash a lot more here than in the previous feature.
The video quality is simply stunning on this blu-ray. I’m not sure if it was shot digital or not, but it was absolutely gorgeous on blu-ray. From Rio de Janeiro to New York City, everything is crisp and clear.
The audio is also simply amazing, with a nice breakup between the speakers. The dialogue is crisp and clear through the center channel and there is no clouding of the voices. This is one of those discs where the film is somewhat quiet until the action scenes, then it gets crazy loud. Just be warned if you watch this in an apartment; you will be riding the volume controls.
There are quite a few special features on the disc as well. You have the U-Control features (interactive features while you watch the film) which include a comic book gallery and the Thunderbolt files. Then you have an animated comic, an alternate opening, a making of documentary, deleted scenes, and feature commentary with director Louis Leterrier and Tim Roth.
While this isn’t as directly tied to the upcoming The Avengers film as Iron Man 2, Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger, it does set up a couple of building blocks. As a stand alone film, it is a very well done action film. The performances by Tim Roth, Edward Norton and Liv Tyler elevate this film. If you haven’t seen this film before, it is worth checking out before seeing The Avengers.
Movie *** out of ****
Blu-Ray *** out of ****