Hercules – 2/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

herculesHercules – 2/5 – This is a review for a film that was released last year.  I finally got a chance to watch it this past week.   When it comes to sword and sandal films; they are rare breed of genre nowadays.  There may be a lot of reasons for a lack thereof; but one big reason is that most in this genre aren’t always brought to a level of sensibility, usually moving far from any ‘tangible’ source material.  With a time that most audience have a hard time understanding, doing this causes even more recklessness for the overall experience.  When this happens, a film’s glaring weakness comes to the forefront.  Hercules is a film that tries to ‘ground’ the myth, but doesn’t quite live up to its billing.

Premise: After endearing 12 labors; Hercules must take on one last mission before leading a life a peace.  In the ultimate turn of events, one man most become what he was born to be; a legend.

In the title lead of Hercules is Dwayne Johnson.  Most know him from his WWE mantra as ‘The Rock’; but he has come into his own as a leading man in Hollywood.  Starring in this film; he does what he is known best for.  He uses his charm, wit and suave to sway the crowd with great appeal for the character Hercules.  From his physical prowess to the overall smooth commandment of the camera; you are brought into this world through his actions and dialogue power.  You understand his ‘purpose’ in why he does things in the film, as you feel that purpose when he must exude his ‘power’.  He does a good job in providing some worth this film.  When it comes to the rest of the cast, you can refer to the IMDB page.  In general, the secondary cast around Johnson are one dimensional.  The actors/actresses are passable in the roles they portray, but they don’t give anything of value to the overall story or action.  They are ‘gimmicky’ tools used to bring some flare to the big screen.  They are directed to play up the predictable archetypes in these kinds of action films.  You have the group of misfits, love interest, ‘shocking’ villain and unsung sidekick.  It is pretty standard and doesn’t sway into being anything deeply moving or awesomely entertaining.

The direction mixes ‘modern’ action genre elements within the ‘mystical’ approaches of the Greek mythos of Hercules.  Playing to the myths, we get a different ‘version’ of who the son of Zeus is.  The story picks up when Hercules is brought to do one last mission for an embattled King.  In return, he would finally be able to live in peace.  With a basic script at hand, all the setup and character introduction becomes trivial foreshadowing for the typical ‘ominous’ treachery yet to come.   In basic, the film gives you the following:

  1. General setup up leading into the first action set piece
  2. The journey to save an unknown world is concluded, with a treacherous secret
  3. Triumph turns tragic, ‘shocking’ twist and a man’s saving grace for a ‘hero’s’ epiplogue

From beginning to the end, this is what you get. There is nothing new or spectacular, just your generic action elements of sword fighting, unique skill sets, cool looking set pieces/weapons and ‘cheesy’ one-liners.  It feels like the writers didn’t want to try anything new, and it cost them within the ‘fun’ nature.  There isn’t anything fun in any of the action or ‘wondrous’ mythical creation, just a display of the mundane.  As mentioned, there’s a lot of foreshadowing.  This leads to some predictable plot twist.  For all the bland nature that is hovers over the watching of this film, what keeps it at least ‘bearable’ is seeing The Rock.  At its best, you get to see him in some great action sequences and deliver some epic one-liners.  When you the climax comes, you get your ‘expected’ hero’s triumph leading to the general ‘myths’ that most people know about Hercules.

The visuals are very well done.  The cinematography is brought upon the screen with a grounded appeal, giving you a greater perspective of the battles.  You get to see how the ‘myths’ come to be, even when the blind eye is cleared to see the truth.  The score is very relative to all the generalities of the film, but it helps add some flavor to an otherwise tasteless experience.

Hercules is your ‘run-of-the-mill’ action film; just set in a different era.  I recommend this ‘at most’ a rental; and maybe a purchase for a film collector.

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