Movie Review: Hercules.
Directed By: Brett Ratner.
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell and John Hurt.
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.
Through cinema history there has been many incarnations of Hercules, we've already had one earlier this year. This version of the Greek demigod is based off the popular graphic novel series "The Thracian Wars". Everyone more or less knows the story of Hercules, he has to complete twelve labors so that he can finally live in peace and from the trailers that we were given....that looked like the movie we were getting, but we got quite a different movie.
In the trailer, we are shown Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) battling the Hydra, the Nemean Lion and many other beasts but these battles are part of a 3 minute montage at the beginning of the movie when we are being told the legend of Hercules. For the rest of the film we see Hercules and his team of mercenaries help Lord Cotys (John Hurt) train an army so that they can battle for the glory of Thrace. So instead of seeing Hercules battle fantastic beasts throughout the film, we get your average sword and sandal action flick.
I can't possibly think of any other actor working today to play Hercules other than Dwayne Johnson (Fast and Furious 6). He matches the physicality, he has charm and charisma but has proven that he can actually act. I think that Brett Ratner (X-MEN 3) should have allowed Dwayne Johnson to inject more of himself into the role because what we get is a very subdued and quite boring character in Hercules....up until the final act.
In mythology, Hercules often fights alone because he is the all powerful son of Zeus but in the movie we get to see him fight side by side with his mercenaries that are built up of a few different characters. Ian McShane (Pirates Of The Caribbean 4) and Rufus Sewell (The Tourist) are definite standouts out of the cast. Each member of Hercules' team gets their time to shine in battle.
The action scenes of the film are definitely what keep the film going, they're brutal, fun and very well shot. The issue here is....there isn't quite enough action. We get a few really good action scenes but when characters start to converse and the story kicks into motion...the movie suffers.
Brett Ratner can make a movie look really good, and he does with Hercules but every time he tries to progress the story, the movie slows down and we're left waiting for the next action scene.
The movies main story line is cliched and quite boring but there is actually a subplot that I loved! People who know the mythology will know that Hercules has a very troubled past involving his family, I won't spoil it here for anyone who doesn't know, but I loved this. The film seemed to venture into some unexpected darkness that was surprisingly effective.
This is a Brett Ratner film....there is not a lot of depth, as one might expect. Most of the supporting cast are reduced to one note characters that certainly have fun moments but never really develop.
If the film had focused on the legend of Hercules and his completion of the twelve labors, then I think this movie could have gone in a much more fun direction but because of its cliched plot that we see over and over again, there isn't really anything to grasp onto here in terms of story, other than the subplot about his family.
A big thing that the film was lacking was a villain. We only really get a villain in the last 25 minutes which isn't enough for a movie like this. I won't spoil who the villain is but it becomes quite obvious about halfway through the film.
I think a lot of people are going to get confused by this film, it toys with the idea of Hercules actually being set in fantasy or being more realistic and it never gives you a definite answer to whether or not Hercules is the son of Zeus or if he fought giant monsters and I walked out thinking that could have been explained a lot better.
The cast do a good enough job, Brett Ratner makes the movie look nice but doesn't handle the story well. The battles are really fun to watch and really well shot but there simply isn't enough of them. I think if you want to watch this movie, you'll have a good time watching it. It's nothing special but its not necessarily bad either. Hercules is one of the most mediocre movies of the summer so far and I'm giving it a C+.
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