By Patrick Kearns
hercules-16

 

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars in this narcissistically named movie chronicling the adventures of the famous Greek hero.

Story

Rockules and his band of merry misfits act as mercenaries for hire in this clever spin on the classic myth. I suppose you could consider the following a spoiler even though it is revealed in the first fifteen minutes of the movie. Regardless: SPOILER ALERT! In this movie, Hercules is not portrayed as the actual son of Zeus. Instead, he is just an incredibly strong and powerful man whose story has spread throughout Greece like a monster killing Paul Bunyan. So everyone in the country thinks that Hercules is a demigod, but only the viewers (and a select number of side characters) know the truth. Hercules is accompanied by 5 other mercenaries who are infinitely more interesting the Hercules himself. The fellowship consists of the main man himself, Herc, a female archer, a bloodthirsty mute, a comical soothsayer, a storyteller, and a man who throws knives well. Their quest: To live like Kings by working for whoever pays the most.

Using the tales of the all-powerful Rockules, the Fellowship of the Rock increase their fame and their wealth until they are hired by a King to train his troops and lead them into a mysterious civil war. From that point on the movie consists of great action packed fight scenes and secret motives of the King lead Hercules to make a moral choice become the real hero everyone thinks he is. And that he does! By the end of the movie, I was pondering whether or not he was actually the son of Zeus. He certainly performs like he is.

Since the story of Hercules is one that has been told many, many times, a lot of his backstory is essentially summed up in a couple of minutes. The audience is almost expected to know who Hercules is so they can focus on all the head clobbering action. The side characters are really cool and have a lot of potential, but their backstories are not explored as much as I hoped.

Hercules (referencing the movie itself and not the main character) steals many ideas from other movies, especially 300. However, it makes up for this fact by blatantly referencing 300 multiple times throughout the movie. These all made me laugh, so the unoriginal ideas have been mostly forgiven.

All in all, plot was way more interesting and complex than I expected, and while most people will only remember the fight scenes, I will remember this movie for its creative interpretation of the ancient legend.

Acting/Dialogue

Note: Because the movie uses actual Greek names that are impossible to remember, I will be describing the characters rather than naming them

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (who looks more like a tank than a rock) plays Hercules well, especially since Hercules is a character of brawn and therefore is not expected to be eloquent or well spoken. This, overall, leads to some poor dialogue that consists of mostly one liners.

Best performance in this movie goes to Ian McShane, who plays the soothsayer. His character is by far the most complex and interesting. Plus, he’s funny! With good supply of comical relief and a stellar performance, McShane’s character helps hold the movie together.

SFX/Action

The fight scenes (as previously mentioned) are very 300-esque. However, the battles in Hercules seemed to be the perfect scale. Even with a realistic amount of soldiers fighting at any given time, the action seems non-stop and is almost exhausting to watch. Everything looks real and (for the most part) remains within the realm of possibility.

Hercules obviously steals most of the glory when it comes to awesome fight scene moments. Nevertheless, the Followers of Rockules hold their own, and together as a team, they seem unstoppable.

Conclusion

While not Dwayne Johnson’s best movie, I thought Hercules was great. I know some may disagree, but one thing is for sure: Hercules is a hell of a lot better than Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Rating: 8/10

Source: http://urgentneptune.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/hercules-2014-review.html

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