Starring: Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Aksel Hennie, Reece Ritchie, Joseph Fiennes
Directed by: Brett Ratner
Written by: Ryan J. Condal, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 1 hr 28 min
You know it’s funny, back in January 2014 when I was suffering through The Legend of Hercules, one of my main complaints was with the casting of Kellan Lutz (son of Zeus-lite), and I wondered if the The Rock was busy. Well wouldn’t you know it, Mr Dwayne Johnson was actually busy with his own take on the swords and sandals Herculean legend.
This however, is a Hercules you can believe in! A massive bronzed giant of a man, battle scared and rough around the edges. Not like that other salon visiting yoga instructor and model, this Hercules wears a lion’s head as a hat, wields a massive spiked club, and only has to hit something once to put it down.
There’s also a little more going on in this version of the Herculean legend, and in fact the actual ‘legend’ is frequently questioned. Is there a three-headed wolf? Or is it three separate wolves side by side attacking at the same time? Are those Centaurs? Or just the light playing tricks? The difference is in the perception, and who’s telling the tale afterward.
The film explores the components that go into the creation of a legend, be that via impassioned story telling, or how witnessed actions are perceived. One person sees Hercules topple a 100 foot tall statue, others see him damage the foundation of the statue enough to make the structure fall under its own weight. What ultimately is important though, is how that legend is used – to guide, or to rule by fear.
I found Hercules to be a solid swords and sandals flick. The lead role is a perfect fit for Dwayne Johnson, and the battle sequences are entertaining, if somewhat tame due to that box office friendly PG-13 rating.
If you’ve watched and enjoyed movies like 300 and the TV series Spartacus, you may get some enjoyment out of this but keep one thing in mind – PG-13. There’s plenty of action in Hercules, but very little blood and gore.
This is decently shot so a matinée screening is recommended. At home a HD viewing on your TV will bring out the best in Hercules.
Best Element: << spoilers >>
I really enjoyed the finale, starting in the prison cell as Hercules breaks free of his chains. Everything after that point is epic and a lot of fun to watch.