After the recent misfire that was HERCULES AGAINST MOLOCH (1963) - with which it shares director Ferroni and co-stars Gordon Scott and Rosalba Neri - I was actually surprised by this one: Scott, wooden though he is, probably has his best such role here - and, at least, much like the Steve Reeves of THE Trojan HORSE (1961; incidentally, also a Ferroni film), he isn't required to be a he-man! The film also boasts an above-average, albeit one-note, villain in Alberto Lupo. Unfortunately, however, Neri was a lot better used as a villainess in HERCULES than as Scott's dutiful wife here!
While the action and the spectacle is par for the course, to me, the most satisfying aspect of the film is its complex and thoroughly engaging plot - with Lupo conniving with the enemies of Rome behind its back and then conspiring to banish Scott...who eventually leads the enemy to march on Rome and rid it of Lupo's corrupt influence. Finally, it was refreshing to watch a film about the Roman Empire from a simpler era - serving as an antidote to the general unpleasantness and the unwarranted vulgarity of the ROME (2005) TV series...
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