Friday, July 25, 2014

Review: Hercules

Release date: July 25, 2014
Running time: 96 minutes
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian McShane
Who to see it with: A fan of the Rock or fun summer movies


In what seems like the twentieth Hercules movie, and the second this year after the lackluster Legend of Hercules, Hercules and his band of mercenary outcasts are hired to help an aging king defeat a rising threat to his empire. This movie stars a less grandiose Hercules who appears to be running from his past deeds and accepting work for the highest bidder. It's an interesting premise and one that is refreshingly different from what you would expect. Hercules is not alone in this journey and is joined by warriors who have encountered him on his fabled labours. It adds some nice variety to the group and definitely gives the film an Avengers type feel (even with similar types of characters: Atalanta is Hawkeye, Tydeus is kind of like the Hulk, Amphiaraus is kind of like Iron Man with his humor and use of mechanical weapons, Hercules is kind of like Captain America, and Autolycus is Black Widow). 

The Rock tends to make any movie he's in better, and this is no exception. Dwayne Johnson was born to play Hercules and he looks convincingly ripped and charismatic. And although the story feels like a launching pad for additional movies, it's a fun journey. Sure it doesn't make a ton of sense but it's a high-octane action movie that has a fun cast of characters. Further, it provides a different take on Hercules that is slightly deeper than your general he's a half-man, half-god that can do everything movie. The fighting is hit or miss, with some really exciting battles marred by some less than stellar execution. The story has plenty of dramatic moments (some might say overly dramatic) and plenty of cliches, but then again it's a summer movie so what do you expect. The effects are pretty obviously CG but are enjoyable at least. Don't go to Hercules expecting to be blown away, but if you're looking for a fun summer movie that will entertain you for a few hours, this is one for you.

Rent it.

PS - There are some nice animated vignettes during the start of the credits that help to fill in some additional back story. It's a nice touch and make sure to stay for those!

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