When ‘Hancock’ met That Woman

I’ve never really said it, but I was always a Will Smith fan–at least as far as acting is concerned.  I never bought, nor intended to buy one of his albums, even though he did have that one song I remember, Switch, that I thought was good, he always struck me as an actor, not a rapper, even though that was not his original intent either. 

Let the record show, this $20 million dollar a movie man has produced a blockbuster hit movie EVERY single year, except 1994, without fail since his debut movie while he was still a Fresh Prince living in Bel Air.

  1. 1993 — “Six Degrees of Separation” and “Made In America”
  2. 1995 — “Bad Boys’
  3. 1996 — “Independence Day” (love interest of Vivica Fox)
  4. 1997 — “Men In Black”
  5. 1998 — “Enemy of The State”  (co starred against black woman played by the lovely Regina King, now famous for the voices of Riley and Huey from the “Boondocks”)
  6. 1999 — “Wild Wild West”
  7. 2000 — “Legend of Bagger Vance”
  8. 2001 — “Ali”
  9. 2002 — “Men In Black II”
  10. 2003 — “Bad Boys II”
  11. 2004 — “I, Robot” and “Shark Tale”
  12. 2005 — “Hitch”
  13. 2006 — “Pursuit of Happiness”
  14. 2007 — “I Am Legend”
  15. And the 2008 Big Willie Weekend STOOPIDEST movie EVER “Hancock”

Well, I’m not a movie critic, but if I, who thought “Wild Wild West” was a good movie was disappointed with “Hancock” that had potential, then I think people should take notice.  I guess this is Will Smith’s “Catwoman” equivalent; it was bound to happen, he never had a movie, aside from the critiques of “Wild Wild West” that just outright sucked.

And no, there are no plot spoilers, because the following is usually obvious:  Will Smith’s love interest is Charlize Theron, and I must say that Hancock feeling the need to protect and save the white woman was somewhat disturbing.  But, of course, in this post-racial society–wait, I can’t even write that lie in good conscience–in this racist society, where LeBron James can eerily echo a King Kong on the cover of Vogue magazine as he holds Gisele Bundchen, and we’ve yet again tackled this idea of a black man and a leading white woman in cinema.

I think if the movie had been done well I woulda have swallowed the pill and just been post-racial for that 90 minutes to 2 hour time frame and still had Will Smith sitting on a pedestal.  But because the plot line began to fail miserably, and the writing began to slip quickly down a slippery slope, and because the directing DIED ON THE VINE as if they swtiched directors in the middle of the movie, it was like Why Black Man are you fighting for (as AverageBro so eloquently states) THAT WOMAN? I mean, there was no intrinsic value in fighting for her, she….well, lemme not give away the plot all the way.

Let’s just say the idea of a black man fighting for that woman is getting old.

And once one sees the movie, if at all, then you’ll know how this plot line just fell flat.  I’ve never seen a movie that shifted so violently as far as plot, writing style and ability, and mood.  I went from a very, very, good comedy to a melodrama.  I guess, you saw some of the melodrama coming, of course naturally in the scene where the viewer gets clued in on the backstory of how the superhero comes about, but this movie, it was so subtle, it wasn’t until the end of the movie that you realized that the second half was horrible.

This first half was ripe with plot possibilities.  Honestly, I thought that given his alcoholic superhero status that this movie would have been the movie where we see the plight of a black man, dealing with his past and owning up to his mistakes and triumphs, and doing the movie as a real black man. 

Yet again, I shouldn’t have been fooled, this is Will Smith who I’ve written about in the past, as an actor who has shied away from roles that stereotypically portray him as an average black man.  In “Six Degrees of Separation” he played a shiester black kid on the streets of Manhattan, who was gay, and looking to pull the wool over the eyes of New York elites–not exactly the average black male experience.  The “Bad Boy’s” series, “Men In Blacks” allowed him to portray somewhat of an average black male experience.  However, in neither of those movies, where he wasn’t portraying a real life character, has he played a character that was forced to live life as an average black male.  In “Ali” and “Pursuit of Happiness” he was of course playing real-life people. 

“Wild Wild West” just totally butchered the idea of race.  The movie took place in 1869 (I think) and had Will Smith acting as though he would have been afforded the FULL rights of white males in both the North and the South, but yet and still invoking slavery, which did provide some sort of cognitive dissonance for me.

“I, Robot,” “Hitch” and “I Am Legend” are somewhat of the inbetween movies where he transcended race and played a race neutral role.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he did, I think very highly of all three of these in this category, but yet and still, nothing that Tom Cruise or Brad Pitt couldn’t have played just as easily.

“Independence Day,” and “Enemy of The State,” for me are the movies where he plays a totally average black male character.  There were enough facets and nuances of average black maleness that those in the black community could appreciate.  The dominant factor for me was simply because he had Vivica Fox and Regina King, respectively, by his side for each of these movies, and they are both black women.

I still haven’t figured out “Shark Tales” yet, lol.

And then….oh, and then….the one black guy who can’t seem to get a break (and I heard his stand-up is horrible as well)…Mike Epps.

Mike Epps showed his a$$ up during the credits and I said loudly “Oh my God, what’s Mike Epps doing in this movie?”  and my white cohorts said “Who?”

So am I the only one slightly conflicted about casting black men in roles that are race neutral?  While I’m happy they got the role, I’d wish they play a role where they clearly are aware of the cultural and racial differences?

Keep it uppity and keep it radically truthful, JLL

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10 thoughts on “When ‘Hancock’ met That Woman

  1. Damn, I’m a huge (closet) Will Smith fan as well, and your review makes me want to get it on bootleg instead of shelling out my money that I could save to go see The Dark Knight in a coupla weeks…so good looking out on that

    And about Will Smith as a person, he’s one of those black guys that white people will only fear when he starts trying to make moves that they feel are out of his reach, right now they love Will, Will might as well be white, he’s making movies that entertain and he never tries to be too militant, too scary, but best believe there will be a time when Will finally wakes up, and starts making statements that make them uncomfortable…next thing you know America is going to need a new favorite nigger…guaranteed

  2. Yeah, I’m soooooo waiting for The Dark Knight to come out!!! I just want back $5.00 because the first half of the movie was off the chain…and the plot twist was one of the best I’ve seen in a while—they just shat on a great plot and script in the second half.

  3. This movie had lots of potential, but the creators didn’t have the cojones to break-the-mold. I like the premise, superhero who doesn’t give a shite, and as that changed, the movie got ridiculous.
    A list of faults – (spoiler alert)

    Why is it up to white suburban man to show black man superhero how to behave properly in polite society? Why not learn that from someone who is or descended from Mexican, Chinese, Ute, Phillipino, etc?
    Why does Black man superhero have to go to prison for rehab?
    Why is white woman superhero stronger than black man superhero?
    Why is it that only white women get superpowers? (Storm/Halle Berry excluded).
    White woman superhero does not say that “they” tried to black man superhero because he was with a white woman. Lack of courage here.

    And of course, Will Smith cannot kiss Charlize Therone. It would be bad for her career. Better for her to throw his superhero butt out into the street.

    There’s more … ’nuff said.

  4. correction: White woman superhero does not say that “they” tried to kill black man superhero because he was with a white woman.

  5. You know, what disappointed me was that Will produced this movie. He could have gone so many directions, but he chose the worst one. We could have had a good, strong black male superhero growing from a dark, drunken little boy to someone who’s finally seen the light.

    And for God’s sake, was Gabrielle Union not available to play the leading lady? Will Smith should have known better. His wife is black–Hell, SHE should have given him a clue.

    And the white suburban guy “teaching will how to behave” was also irritating.

    This movie was terrible in all shades and colors.

  6. I was extremely disappointed in Hancock. First, as a matter of principle, I make every effort to see movies with black actors and actresses. So when I learned that Hancock featured a black actor and an opportunity to see a black superhero, I was excited.

    However, early in the movie it became clear that Will Smith was cast to conform to a stereotype of black people as being uncivilized and lacking basic sense. Also, why was Jason Bateman, a white man, cast as being the one to teach, or instruct, Smith on how to act in a socially appropriate manner.

    We could spend hours talking about Smith’s love-interest but that issues has been appropriately covered. Again, the movie was a huge disappointment.

  7. My and some of my friends saw the movie as well – We were highly offended by movie and its racist overtones. For me, the suggestion, or implication, that black people are uncivilized and lacking basic interpersonal skills, was most offensive . Prior to seeing the movie I was enthusiastic about the potential for a black superhero. Early in the movie it became immediately clear that Will Smith was cast to conform to a stereotype sometimes associated with black people as being uncivilized and lacking basic sense. I was also thoroughly disgusted with the notion of a “white man” teaching a “black man” how to act in a socially appropriate manner. I also resent the implication that the black man needs a white man to save him!!!!
    In a word, the movie was a sham. But go judge for yourself if you want to give Will your gas money!!!!

  8. I’m so glad to read that I’m not alone. I was excited to see Will’s new movie, enjoyed the premise & seeing his character develop on screen. Cannot begin to explain how ANGRY I am to see another Black man rescuing, loving, etc a white blonde woman on screen. She could have been his friend if the execs just couldn’t bear to see him with a Black woman (who could have been Jada Pinkett-Smith). I simply don’t want to see this anymore. To think that their story of being attacked is directly linked to times when we were lynched, Jim Crow, etc what is this movie really saying? I’m just tired of my Black brothers rescuing, saving, being beaten for “them”. Especially on screen.

  9. Darned if you do, darned if you don’t.

    So you cast a black man in a role that could have been played by a white actor and that becomes a problem for black people.

    I could have easily seen Brandon Frasier (the mummy) or even Bruce Willis in this role. A black man playing a lovable curmudgeon or reluctant hero in a lead role is new for Hollywood.

    And as far as sex on camera is concerned, most of Will Smith’s movies are non-sexual. I can’t recall (and it might just be that I’m not paying attention) a single sex scene that he’s ever done other than with his wife.

    Six Degress –> no
    Independence Day –> Vivica Fox? no
    Wild West –> Salma Hayek/Garcelle Beauvais? no
    I-Robot –> Bridget Moynihan? no
    Hancock –> Charlize Theron? no
    Ali –> Jada Pinket Smith (his real-life wife)? yes
    Hitch –> Eva Mendez? no

  10. This is what’s wrong with America and why racism will never die. I had to stop reading after I got to the first couple of comments. It’s just sad that this is where yalls head is at. Bunch of racist hating ass people.

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