Monday, August 11, 2014

Hercules Review

Director: Brett Ratner
Cast Headliner: Dwayne Johnson
Original Release Date: July 25, 2014
            Hollywood is filled with all kinds of reboots and remakes, but one of the oldest characters OF ALL TIME is Hercules. He’s had tales told about him for literally many hundreds of years, and here we are with yet another one.  But this one will be different because it has Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson right?  Well, he’s a good asset but otherwise this film is even more generic and stale than the Scorpion King movies.
            Apparently the movie is based upon Radical Comics “Hercules: The Thracian Wars” graphic novel series so there are some twists to this ancient tale. Hercules/(The Rock) may or may not be the true son of Zeus since the film has a unclear message about whether the myths and gods are true. Don’t expect to see Hercules fighting cool creatures much since that’s only in a short series of montages and dreams, the trailer lied to audiences.
            The story that is here is about Hercule’s mercenary band (?!?!!?) who have more (slightly) more flavor than the hero. There’s future vision seeing Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), knife using short tempered Autolycus(Rufus Sewell), beastly norseman-like Tydeus(Aksel Hennie),  Amazon women archer Atalanta(Ingrid Bolso Berdal), and Hercules’ nephew (?!?!) Iolaus (Reece Ritchie). They work for Lord Cotys(John Hurt) to defend the Greek city-state of Thrace from invaders.
            These one-note players are interesting because they at least embody their traits hard, if sometimes to the point of annoyance.  This is unlike Hercules. Because sure he is strong and fierce and boisterous, but only barely so. The usually entertaining Johnson gives off here one of his most basic performances in his career, not seen since his early WWE days. He’s decent, but that’s it.  At least he … looks cool in his costume?
            The characters are dumb, the story is dumb, but what is entertaining is the action. This redeems the film and sure it’s all human on human scuffles but there manages to be a plentiful variety of action sequences.  Big dumb moments happen, such as when Hercules punches an enemy yards backwards with merely his fist. But it’s all part of the expectations of this formula.  One can’t say the movie isn’t at least a bit entertaining.
            This movie could have been so much more, but it’s not horrible. The spectacle of the clashing armies is cool and there are actually a couple of surprising twists in the plot.  Dwayne Johnson is of course decent when fighting against armies, but is even better when the rare emotional scenes about his departed family arise.  There are a couple gems in this rough film, and it should have had more. But still a good “rental” movie or so.  7.06 out of 10

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