I was overruled by my wife who INSISTED that we see Hercules OVER Guardians of The Galaxy. It seems she does not think she could get past a talking raccoon with the voice of Bradley Cooper. But she can look past Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson battling a 3 or 4 headed wolf, an abnormally large lion with an indestructible hide, a multi-headed hydra beast and so on and so forth? I guess when you look like The Rock and you are a female you can look past anything. I can look past almost anything when it comes to Jessica Biel, so there!
Hercules is the latest film by Brett Ratner, the man who brought us the Rush Hour films with Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. Most of his films have a standard amount of humor and Hercules is no exception. In this latest incarnation, the mysterious persona of Hercules may or may not be true but Hercules and his band of merry mercenaries don’t seem to mind and use it to their advantage. When called upon to rescue King Cotys (John Hurt) and his empire from the evil Tydeus and his army Hercules and his cohorts get more than they bargained for as they find out things are not as they seem. Most of which are just set pieces for characters to scream and give speeches about seizing the day for glory on the battlefield. The casting of Hercules is excellent with Johnson as the title role, Hurt, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Joseph Fiennes, Tobias Santelmann, Peter Mullan, Rebecca Ferguson and Ingrid Bolso Berdal. All of these performers do well in their roles. There is a nice dose of humor and writers Ryan Condal and Evan Spiliotopulos spread the jokes pretty evenly to all of the characters. But, I found myself more interested in the simply stunning Ingrid Bolso Berdal as Atalanta, the Amazonian archer who has enough sexual charisma for 3 films. Fortunately for me, she was a good guy and did not have to meet a horrible end as the bad guy does. When Berdal is on screen for me, everyone else simply paled in comparison, even The Rock.
The Rock is an underrated actor and he does have the ability to carry a film even as mediocre as Hercules. This is not a bad film and no one embarrasses themselves but there is enough clichés that I began to look at my watch about half-way through. I mean, how many training montages set to music do we have to sit through as Hercules and his warriors transform a bunch of ragtag losers into a fierce fighting army? How many double crosses do we have to endure? There were some that were so obvious that they were as noticeable as floats in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Really! Still, to say Hercules was awful would not be true. The acting is competent and Fernando Velazquez’s score is boisterous fun and Dean Spinotti’s cinematography has some shots that take your breath away. You could do far worse for a lazy, hot Sunday afternoon. Am I recommending this? Not quite. Only because I know there are other films out there that are far better. But if you have to see something that requires little brain power and has some fun the Hercules could be for you. As Robin Williams once said, “Not all films can be Shakespeare.”
Hercules-**1/2 out of 4