Thanks to all the hype from Hercules, I didn’t volunteer to see it. I was required to see it. Two government agents dropped by my house, put me in a car and delivered me to the movie theater. Currently sitting at number 2 in the box office, Hercules was beat out by Lucy but still seems to be appealing to fans.
This Hercules boasts a new swing on an old premise. In this version, Hercules (played by Dwayne Johnson in a bad wig) isn’t the son of Zeus. He’s an orphan. He’s simply been cashing in on his reputation over the years in order to make more money as a mercenary. This is an ongoing conflict throughout the movie. When Lord Cotys of Thrace (John Hurt) is about to fight a civil war with a sorcerer, Hercules, along with 5 friends, is quick to take on the task. Then, massive battle scenes ensue and Dwayne Johnson grunts and yells a lot.
First, I love the premise because it’s the most believable version of Hercules I’ve ever seen. It really is an interesting take, regulating the character Hercules to nothing more than a Jersey Shore cast member. Hercules was famous for being famous and cashing in on that fame. Unfortunately, this clever premise is never really examined and instead, the move focuses on CGI and epic battle scenes.
As it goes on, it gets more and more improbable. Usually, I wouldn’t have a problem with this in a Hercules movie; after all, the whole story of Hercules is completely improbable. But this movie promised a realistic premise at the beginning and didn’t deliver in the end.
On the upside, Dwayne Johnson can act. I will say that I think he’s one of the best Hercules’ I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen a lot. What can I say? I like a muscular man running around with his shirt off. Johnson gives a new depth to a character that most actors tend to play as a one dimensional golden boy. Johnson was better than the film he was in.
The problem with this film is that instead of exploring an excellent premise, which even give a decent back story, it instead dissolved into self-empowerment psychobabble. At one point, Hercules proudly declares , “you just have to believe you’re a hero.” Oh good lord, insert eye roll.
If anyone should have been conflicted over whether he was a hero, it should have been Hercules himself. Is it weird that I think the screenwriter missed the point of their own script?
The battle scenes and CGI are well done. It’s not silly, like the previous bomb involving the legendary hero, The Legend of Hercules, released this past January. The special effects department was clearly working overtime on this one. The battle scenes are bloody and pretty conventional, with lots of death and lots of people getting hacked up.
I will say Hercules is an entertaining movie. It’s enjoyable to watch and Dwayne Johnson is just as charismatic as he’s always been. My big problem it that this movie could have been so much better if they had focused on the premise of legend over fact, rather than tried to turn the story into an inspirational self help book.
WE GAVE IT: 3.5 Stars: Official Movie Trailer and Movie Poster Below