Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy.
Starring: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell, Askel Hennie, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Reece Ritchie, Joseph Fiennes, Tobias Santelmann, Peter Mullan, Rebecca Ferguson, Joe Anderson, Steve Peacocke, Irina Shayk, Karolina Szymckaz, Tamina Snuka, Barbara Palvin, Caroline Boulton.
Year Of Release: 2014
Certificate: 12 (UK)
Runtime: 98 Minutes
Director: Brett Ratner
Synopsis: “Having endured his legendary twelve labors, Hercules, the Greek demigod, has his life as a sword-for-hire tested when the King of Thrace and his daughter seek his aid in defeating a tyrannical warlord.” IMDB
Swords and sandals are not usually my thing I mean I haven’t even seen “Troy” or “Gladiator”, which for somebody who considers himself a cinephile is all kinds of wrong. So going into this I wasn’t expecting much, main reason I watched it was I am a fan of The Rock he makes enjoyable films. Which half the time aren’t actually well written or made films, he is just a great performer, has been since his days of wrestling. I tend to check out pretty much everything he does, a fair amount of the time I enjoy the films. for instance I enjoyed “Pain & Gain” and “Snitch” (may review them in the coming weeks).
Brett Ratner is very much a hit and miss director in my opinion, he makes enjoyable stuff like the Rush Hour films, well at least two the third lacked the charm I found. Anyway back to Ratner, along with his good films he makes some awful choices like well the obviously bad “X-Men: The Last Stand”. This time around Ratner has made a semi decent film, his use of CGI are good at times, however his dull visuals of mountains and expansive land are boring to look. He tries to replicate the scenes we see in the likes of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, but this idea falls flat on its backside.
Dwayne Johnson was a good casting to play Hercules, however he was not the best character in the film his entourage were more than steal scenes. His team of Rufus Sewell, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Ian McShane, Askel Hennie and Reece Ritchie were better characters than Hercules. There is moments when Ritchie’s Lolaus completely changes the tone of the film, fits of laughter from some of his bullshit twists on the Hercules story. Plus Askel Hennie as Tydeus was brilliant, he doesn’t speak much but his crazy antics are a nice change from the attempt at drama that isn’t that intriguing most of the time.
While the film is based on one the widest known Greek mythological stories, this film however is based on a comic book written by the late British comic writer Steve Moore. The film strips back the story we all have known for a long time and changes it more than anybody would expect;
Hercules is NOT the son of Zeus,
He did NOT undertake the labours like we know, while he does do the labours it turns out they were not mythological. In fact, in this incarnation the labours he performs were all against mortals like himself,
They are two biggest changes I know of, I don’t know the actual details of Hercules story just the very basics from growing up watching the animated show and Disney film. That being said I kind of felt cheated in the sense that I wanted to see some mythological based aspects to the film, not for the story to be completely rewritten into some crap twist on the story.
With three big battle scenes there is a few fun parts to the film, not enough to warrant this film being considered as anything more than a pop corn flick if it even deserves that title. While these fight scenes are fun to watch, they do not make up for the shoddy story and boring drama that struggles to bring in your attention and keep it. Plus it also felt like they writers or even director didn’t really know in which way to take, while Hercules in the film is a mortal, there is two scenes in which you would struggle to believe he is only human. In one scene he throws a horse with a man on its back and in another he pushes over a statue that towers in comparison to anything a man could move.
Overall, the film was an okay nothing more than I expected from a Brett Ratner attempt at making something mythological. I have heard many people claim it is far superior to this years similar release of “The Legend Of Hercules” starring Kellan Lutz, if that film is of less quality than this I don’t think I will ever watch it. Hercules while it could be considered a popcorn flick, I would advise looking elsewhere for a fix of swords and sandals, not that I personally can recommend any. However, there surely has to be better options than this, if there is not then I can’t see how the subgenre has lasted so long. This may sound unorthodox, but I struggle to give this any more than 4 out of 10, that is a star for each battle and one extra star for the entourage as a whole other than those I can’t find any other positives to add to the film.