THE ROCK SHINES AS THE GREEK GOD, HOWEVER THE GOD OF UNINTENTIONAL LAUGHTER FORGED THE FILM’S PLOT, DIALOGUE, AND THE MAJORITY OF THE SPECIAL EFFECTS!
By Nico Beland
Movie Review: C (2 ½ stars)
PARAMOUNT PICTURES AND MGM
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson fights for good and looks buff as Hercules
Director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour trilogy, X-Men 3: The Last Stand, Tower Heist) and former wrestling superstar, Dwayne Johnson, better known as The Rock (The Scorpion King, Fast & Furious franchise, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) join forces to bring a new retelling of the classic story about the legend of Hercules, based on the Radical Comics series by Steve Moore. Thankfully it’s not like the other Hercules movie that came out at the beginning of this year, The Legend of Hercules, which opened to unanimously negative reviews and became one of the biggest box office bombs since Cutthroat Island.
This new Hercules, while it’s still a bad movie, did have actual effort put into the film than Legend, and some of the creature effects on the Hydra, lion, and Cerberus, while nothing fancy, they look impressive enough to overshadow some of the film’s cheesy effects, and let’s not forget Dwayne fighting soldiers and looking buff, it’s over the top and entertaining.
The half God, half human, Hercules is the leader of a group of mercenaries that was formed by the prophet, Amphiaraus (Ian McShane-Coraline, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Jack the Giant Slayer), thief, Autolycus (Rufus Sewell-The Legend of Zorro, The Illusionist, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), warrior, Tydeus (Aksei Hennie-Headhunters), archer, Atlanta (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal-Chernobyl Diaries, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters), who is basically a female version of Orlando Bloom’s Legolas in The Lord of the Rings franchise, and the storyteller, Iolaus (Reece Ritchie-10,000 BC, The Lovely Bones, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time), who desperately desires to have his heart pierced by a flaming arrow in battle for the sake of the legend.
It is said Hercules is the demigod son of Zeus, the king of Gods (Who we never see in this adaptation, by the way!), because he completed the legendary tasks known as the Twelve Labors, only to be betrayed by one of the three sisters of Zeus, Hera, who drove him insane and caused him to murder his wife, Megara (Irina Shayk) and children, during a visit with King Eurystheus (Joseph Fiennes-Shakespeare in Love, Elizabeth, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas).
Since the great tragedy, Hercules rejected Zeus and chose to live his life as a mortal, and is often tormented by frightening visions of the three-headed monster known as Cerberus, pet of Hades, Lord of the Underworld (Who we also never see in this film!). One day Hercules and his crew are visited by Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson), the daughter of Lord Cotys (John Hurt-Alien, Hellboy II: The Golden Army), who asks Hercules to train the armies of Thrace to protect the kingdom from the bloodthirsty warlord, Rheseus (Tobias Santelmann) and his army of Centaurs.
During his time of training the armies, Hercules and his crew realize dark truths about what happened in the past and a secret being hidden by Cotys. So it’s up to Hercules, his mercenary crew, and an entire army to discover the truth about Cotys and preserve the peace before it’s too late.
Overall, this new Hercules movie is closer to the source material than the 1997 Disney animated movie, but the Disney film did have the more iconic story. As is, the film has laughable dialogue, the story has dozens of plot-holes and characters that are referenced that we never see in the movie, and the visual effects often look cheap.
But with that said, the creature effects and fight choreography can be very cool looking at times, and other times it just looks like a poor man’s version of Gladiator. Also Dwayne Johnson is very enjoyable to watch as Hercules, you can tell he’s having fun with the role and even if the writing is laughably bad, it’s nice to see him try and pull something off, and honestly I think he partially succeeded, at least his performance is better than the schmuck from The Legend of Hercules.
It’s one of the most enjoyably bad and stupid movies you’ll see this year, aside from Transformers: Age of Extinction. If you just want to see some over the top action and cheesy dialogue and not care about a strong plot or character development, you should have a fun time at the movies, but if you want something clever and interesting, you’re not going to find it here, you’re better off watching Edge of Tomorrow, Lucy, or X-Men: Days of Future Past instead.
Not to mention, if you’re looking for a well-made Hercules movie, you should just stick with the Disney animated movie, sure it’s flawed but it’s crafted better than this unintentionally laughable movie.