2014 was going to be the year of the Hercules movies. Two films, doppleganger movies, going head to head, months apart, to see who could make the best Hercules based movie. Kind of silly, when nothing could ever beat the clearly superior Hercules Disney movie from 1997. Zero to Hero, bitches.
But two things were odd about this competition. One, the releases were almost 7 months apart, January to July. And two, holy shit, The Legend Of Hercules was very very terrible. Yes, it came out the second week of the year, but it firmly established itself as the worst movie of the year, and at this point, still has to be top 5 worst films of the year on most people’s lists. So no matter how janky this version of Hercules would be, it would probably be the superior film.
Because everyone know, with doppelganger films, one has to be good right?
They did pick a fantastic person for the role though, no lion about that.
This story begins quite annoyingly going over the Legend of Hercules (Dwayne Johnson), not the other movie, the actual legend, and the 12 Great Deeds he had to do to get Hera off his back. But what if Hercules isn’t a demi-god, but just a mercenary with a great storyteller nephew (Reece Ritchie) to talk him up and make him seem more awesome than he actually is?
Well, according to this movie, yeah. And Hercules has friends! Including Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), an orphaned Spartan warrior, who likes to joke around, make money, and throw daggers. And Atalanta (Ingrid Bolso Berdal), an Amazon warrior, so of course she uses a bow. And Tydeus (Askel Hennie), of Thebes, who is now more animal than man and quite vicious. And of course, OF COURSE, Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), a seer who saw his own death already, so a fearless warrior in battle.
Yeah, Hercules and his band of merry men, or something like that.
Well, Herc and his mercs for hire get offered a shit ton of gold to help the nation of Thrace defend its borders from warmongering centaurs and some super evil dude. This means they have to train an army of farmers, so that Lord Cotys (John Hurt) can bring peace and prosperity to the kingdom.
But can Hercules do it? Can he? Punk? I don’t know that one for certain, but I do know that The Rock could probably do it.
Rebecca Ferguson plays the daughter of Cotys and Joseph Fiennes as the King of Athens.
“You’re a phony! A big fat phony!”
I think this movie actually had an interesting take on the Hercules mythos. A lot of what you see in the trailers is actually just from the first few minutes, going over his deeds and accomplishments. A lot of the story had been left out of the trailers, giving an almost fresh experience when I went in, not sure what to expect. I like what they did with it, and because it specifically said it wanted to attack the legend of the man, it made it seem like they were taking explicit jabs at the other film this year. Which is kind of hilarious.
The action scenes were pretty on point. The Rock did make a good Hercules, but he wasn’t the best part of the film. Ian McShane stole every scene he was a part of thanks to the comedy of the seer role and Rufus Sewell was pretty on point as well. The plot wasn’t too unique, could guess how it would play out and for the most part kept in line.
Outside of the action, most of the film just felt okay. It felt pretty short for the scope that it was going for, so that was disappointing. It had interesting characters to relate to though, so that is one redeeming quality.
Basically, what I am saying is that if there is a sequel, which there easily could be, I’d be glad to watch it. Obviously I’d watch any sequel, given the point of reviewing movies, but I wouldn’t go into this one with disdain.
But until that happens, looks like there is a shitty Asylum version of this movie too, Hercules Reborn, that I can spend my time with.
2 out of 4.