Having endured his legendary twelve labors, Hercules, the Greek demigod, has his life as a sword-for-hire tested when the King of Thrace and his daughter seek his aid in defeating a tyrannical warlord.
1400 B.C., a tormented soul walked the Earth that was neither man nor god. Hercules (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) was the powerful son of the god King Zeus. For this, he received nothing but suffering his entire life. After twelve arduous labors, and the death of his family, this dark, world-weary soul turned his back on the gods finding his only solace in bloody battle. Over the years, he warmed to the company of six similar souls, their only bond being their love of fighting, and the presence of death. These men and women never question where they go to fight, or why, or whom, just how much they will be paid. Now, the King of Thrace, Lord Cotys (Sir John Hurt) has hired these mercenaries to train his men to become the greatest army of all time. It is time for this bunch of lost souls to finally have their eyes opened to how far they have fallen, when they must train an army to become as ruthless and bloodthirsty as their reputation has become.Written by
Differs greatly from the Greek myths. Among the more notable differences are Atalanta being depicted as an Amazon, Hercules' "posse" who fight alongside him and the chronology and causality of certain events. See more »
Rhesus and his men all have stirrups, which were not used in Europe till well after the fall of the Roman Empire. See more »
ou think you know the truth about him? You know nothing. His father was Zeus. The Zeus. King of the gods. His mother, Alcmene, a mortal woman. Together, they had a boy. Half human, half god. But Zeus' queen, Hera, saw this bastard child as an insult, a living reminder of her husband's infidelity. Alcmene named the boy Hercules, which means glory of Hera, but this failed to appease the goddess. She wanted him dead. Luckily, he took after his father. Once he reached manhood, the gods...
[...] See more »
When the credits roll, there is a 3d animation sequence going over Hercules' labors against the beasts which shows how his companions helped him to slay them. See more »
The theatrical version was pre-cut following advice from the BBFC to remove "bloody detail" in three scenes, in order to obtain a 12A rating. These cuts persisted into every theatrical version worldwide and was the version also released on DVD/Blu-ray in the UK. See more »
Some good old-fashioned battle scenes and a surprisingly generous dollop of tongue-in-cheek humour combine to make this perfectly serviceable summer popcorn fun
Many box-office prognosticators have their bet on 'Hercules' to be the first expensive summer flop of the year, and - truth be told - before we saw Brett Ratner's take on the Greek demigod, we were just as unimpressed by what the trailers and the poster made it out to be. But the marketing of this utterly cheesy but surprisingly entertaining swords and sandals epic missed out one crucial point in its over- eagerness to sell the combat spectacle - it is also very intentionally funny.
In deconstructing the myth for a modern-day summer popcorn viewing audience, Ratner and his writers Ryan J. Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos have drawn their inspiration from Steve Moore and Admira Wijaya's graphic novels 'Hercules: The Thracian Wars' and placed our titular hero squarely in reality. As the opening narration cheekily warns, this isn't going to be the legend you're familiar with; rather, it uses the legend - including his fabled 12 labours - as no more than hearsay which his nephew tells to motivate the troops Hercules is leading into battle.
But really, Hercules is just a mere mortal with superhuman strength here, who leads a band of mercenaries helping kings and queens to slay beasts and conquer foes for a return in gold. Besides his aforementioned nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchie) who longs to prove himself in battle, the rest are just as fearless as Hercules himself - including the knife- throwing Autolycus (Rufus Sewell) with his witty asides, the spear- wielding seer Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), the super-sexy Amazon archer Atalanta (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal), and the brutish Tydeus (Aksel Hennie). They are as tightly knit a crew as anyone can ask for, and fiercely loyal to Hercules to whom they owe their lives.
As man, Hercules finds himself haunted by the death of his wife and children three years ago while in the kingdom of King Eurystheus (Joseph Fiennes). Accused as a murderer in Athens, Hercules is hack for hire by the ruler of Thrace, Lord Cotys (John Hurt), who enlists his crew to defeat a warlord rumoured to be a centaur and into the dark arts. That is the excuse for the first of many well-choreographed battle scenes, which Ratner stages with more verisimilitude than one has come to expect from similar such genre pictures. Though a trained viewer can still pick out the CGI, these scenes are nevertheless exciting and thrilling, combining good old-fashioned formation tactics with Ben Hur-like chariot chases and some Lord-of-the-Rings type one-versus-many pounding.
Those looking for some 'Game of Thrones' intrigue need not apply; indeed, the narrative here is as straightforward as it gets, no matter the minor twist two-thirds into the film that has Hercules struggling to make a moral choice when he realises that he and his crew may have been manipulated by Lord Cotys himself. It does however offer enough to give Dwayne Johnson to flex his dramatic muscles as Hercules, as his call of conscience gives him an opportunity to grow into the hero behind the legend.
That is of course nothing compared to the physical weightlifting which Johnson is called to do in the movie, the inevitable demands of the role only demonstrating why he is such a perfect fit for it. It is difficult to imagine any other Hollywood actor today than Johnson in the character, but it is more than just his physique that we are referring to here. Yes, Johnson also couples that with charm, charisma and comic timing, attributes of which play nicely to Ratner's neat balance of camp and solemnity in tone. Johnson is also joined by a stellar ensemble, in particular Hurt's scene-chewing performance as the duplicitous ruler.
Coming after such pompous predecessors like the god-awful 'Clash of the Titans' and its sequel 'Wrath of the Titans', as well as other copycats like 'Immortals' and even this year's 'The Legend of Hercules', Ratner's 'Hercules' comes almost like a breath of fresh air. It embraces its B- movie roots, doesn't try to be more than what it is, serves up a generous dollop of tongue-in-cheek fun and engaging battle action on an epic scale. Ignore the cynics - this is pure pulpy entertainment that is perfectly serviceable summer movie-going fun. After all, it takes a certain kind of movie that dares to reserve a zinger like 'f**king centaur' for its lead character in fourth-century BC.
17 of 32 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this