In a year that released two Hercules films, the former being The Legend of Hercules with Kellan Lutz which received poor reviews. In an effort to wash those memories at the minds of the people, Director Brett Ratner brings another look at the Greek Demigod in his film Hercules starring Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
The stories of Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) are known among most, but nobody truly knows if he is really a Demigod or if he’s just a man who’s extremely powerful. His reputation remains high throughout the land and that’s with the aid of his loyal companions. They decide to assist Lord Cotys (John Hurt), King of Thrace; he wants Hercules to train his men into becoming the most ruthless army on the planet, so they can defeat the army that’s causing havoc in surrounding areas. In return Hercules and his companions will receive a hefty amount of gold. Naturally, things are more complicated than originally thought to be, unleashing issues of trust and haunting memories from the past.
The promotion of this film led viewers to believe they would be seeing Hercules fight monsters, humans and showing his strength. That’s not exactly what goes down in this film, for better or worse it gives us sequences of each of those three things. Though one would think for having Dwayne Johnson play this role, and the shape he is in; that the film would fully take advantage of his physique and athleticism. That’s not to say the fight sequences are bad, they are actually entertaining but could be predicted by a person wearing blindfolds.There is a moment where Hercules throws a horse, and the shape Johnson is in sells this completely in the realms of realism.
Returning to the main premise, the film lacks substance. The addition of Hercules’ past, i.e his family and former city is given for that added character development and dramatic moments to give weight to the story. However it is executed off the mark, neither the film nor actors are able to sell the drama to it’s intended goal. Perhaps that could have given the film more weight but based on what it was trying to pull from, it more than likely would have the same sluggish effect. Thankfully the film teases it’s fantasy aspects from time to time, and surprisingly has some comedic moments which relieves the film from being too serious. To the actors credit, I don’t believe it was their fault that they weren’t able to sell the drama, more so the material. The script didn’t ask them to pull any serious weight in terms of powerful performances, but instead to show how close they are with one another, which was executed.
Dwayne Johnson plays Hercules quite well though, mainly due to his physique being unwordly. Though Johnson brings his typical charismatic charm and energy to the screen. John Hurt played Lord Cotys decent enough, he was able to convince the viewer to not root for him, same goes to his right hand man Sitalces played by Peter Mullan. The rest of the cast Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Aksel Hennie, Rufus Sewell, Ian McShane, and Rebecca Ferguson, are all solid in their roles, though could be replaced by numerous people.
Hercules is an alright summer blockbuster but not a movie that I would care to see for any other reason. If for a stronger story, and perhaps a better cast; this film could have been something great, but it settles for the same mediocrity. It’s quite clear that this film hangs on a thin thread of approachability, and perhaps wouldn’t be receiving as much love that it has got if Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson wasn’t involved.
My Rating: ★★ / ★★★★★
Dir. Brett Ratner
IMDb 6.7/10 – Rotten Tomatoes 61%
“Are you only the legend, or are you truth behind the legend? Now, tell me, WHO ARE YOU?”