Director: Brett Ratner
Starring : Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, John Hurt
Certificate 12 A
I was about 10 years old when my Dad took me to see Hercules. It starred Steve Reeves who was probably the only actor in it that spoke English, it was made in Italy, dubbed badly and was a pretty low budget affair. Nevertheless, I was mesmerised by the action and cheesy special effects. This movie was followed by several sequels but by the 70s “sword and sandal” adventures lost favour and had all but disappeared as a genre.
In 2006 a successful graphic novel “300” based on the Battle of Thermopylae was made into a movie. Directed by Zack Snyder and starring Gerard Butler it was a massive success. The public’s tastebuds had been whetted again by bare-chested hunks slashing and thrusting.
In true Hollywood tradition this meant that every studio was looking for its own Greco- Roman mythology mini epic to fill their coffers.
Not surprisingly most of them have been “pants”. We’ve had Pompeii, Clash of the Titans (1 & 2), The Immortals, a 300 sequel plus a disastrous Hercules movie already this year – The Legend of Hercules.
Things didn’t bode well for this Hercules then. Especially as there was a press embargo on releasing reviews until the release date, which is normally a sure fire bet that the distributors didn’t believe in the movie and didn’t want negative reviews.
Unsurprisingly, I wasn’t exactly “chomping at the bit” at the prospect of the screening on a beautiful hot sunny day in good old London town.
So- is it any good?
Well, suffice to say it’s certainly not that bad.
For a start it has an interesting take on the Herculean legend. Instead of asking us to believe the whole “12 Labours” myth it purports that Hercules was basically the leader of a band of mercenaries and that the son of Zeus and super human demi-god thing was a public relations exercise spun by his nephew whose entire purpose is to “big-up” the man and drum up business.
Secondly it has a “stonking” cast. Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson looks the part and imparts a great deal of likeability and superb action skills. Rufus Sewell, John Hurt and the rest all overact their togas off but as you’d expect Ian McShane, as Amphiaraus the soothsayer, completely steals the movie.
Last and by no means least, the battles are superbly choreographed, it looks great and the 3D effects are well realised.
Would you choose Hercules as night out as a couple, most likely not but if you have charge of lads between the ages of say 7 to 14 I think you will earn a whole stack of “brownie points” and probably be well entertained into the mix.
Rating 5-14 yrs old 4 stars
Rating Adult 2.5 stars
If you liked this you will like: Clash of the Titans 1 & 2, The Immortals, 300 1 & 2, Troy, The Scorpion King, Pompeii