Hercules (2014)

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) is the leader of a band of mercenaries formed by the prophet Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), the thief Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), the warrior Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), the archer Atalanta (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) and the storyteller Iolaus (Reece Ritchie). Hercules is said to be the demigod son of Zeus, who completed the legendary Twelve Labors, only to be betrayed by Hera, who drove him insane and caused him to murder his wife Megara (Irina Shayk) and their children during a visit to King Eurystheus (Joseph Fiennes). Hercules has since rejected Zeus and chosen to live as mortal, and is tormented by visions of Cerberus.

One day, Hercules and his men are approached by Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson), on behalf of her father, Lord Cotys (John Hurt), who wants Hercules to train the armies of Thrace to defend the kingdom from bloodthirsty warlord Rheseus (Tobias Santelmann). Hercules accepts after each of his men is offered their weight in gold, and the band is welcomed to Thrace by King Cotys and General Sitacles (Peter Mullan), leader of the Thracian army. After training the army, Hercules and his men lead them into battle against local barbarians as a test of their strength. After the barbarians are defeated, Hercules and Sitacles confront Rheseus and his soldiers, believed to be Centaurs, but soon proven to be men on horseback. Rheseus is defeated and taken back to Thrace as a prisoner, where he is tortured and humiliated. Noticing that Ergenia has taken pity to him, Hercules confronts her and finds out Rheseus was merely retaliating against Lord Cotys’ aggressive attempts to expand his kingdom, and, although Ergenia doesn’t agree with his methods, she abides to them for the sake of her son, Arius, Lord Cotys’ successor to the throne.

After receiving their reward, the mercenaries are ready to leave, but Hercules decides to stay behind to stop Cotys, and all but Autolycus choose to follow him. However, they are overpowered and captured by Sitacles and his men. While chained, Hercules is confronted by King Eurhysteus, who is in league with Lord Cotys, and reveals that he poisoned Hercules the night his family died, viewing him as a threat to his power. Hercules’ family was in fact killed by three vicious wolves sent by Eurhysteus, resulting in Hercules’ constant hallucinations of Cerberus. When Lord Cotys orders Ergenia to be executed for her betrayal, Hercules is encouraged by Amphiaraus to embrace his destiny and breaks free of his chains, saving Ergenia and slaying the wolves. Hercules releases the prisoners, including Rheseus, and then confronts King Eurhysteus, impaling him with a dagger. He is attacked by Sitacles, who is then stabbed by Iolaus.

Outside, Hercules and his forces battle Lord Cotys and his army. Arius is taken hostage, but then rescued by Autolycus, who has decided to return to help his friends. In the ensuing battle, Tydeus is mortally wounding and dies in Hercules’ arms after slaughtering numerous Thracian soldiers. Hercules then rips a statue of hero from its foundations and uses it to crush the remaining soldiers and throw Lord Cotys off of a cliff, to his death. The few surviving soldiers bow to Hercules, and Arius takes the throne, with Ergenia at his side, while Hercules and his men depart in search of other adventures.

REVIEW:

So, after the abomination that was The Legend of Hercules, are we ready for Hercules, yet another film that brings us the life and times of one of the most beloved demigods. This one should not be compared to other films of its ilk. Is Dwayne Johnson’s star big enough, like the rest of him!

What is this about?

When world-weary Hercules, now a mercenary, is asked to defeat a savage warlord, he must redeem his honor and his reputation as a mighty demigod. With his companions, Hercules renews his faith in justice in this adaptation of the graphic novel.

What did I like?

Look the part. I have to give it to Dwayne Johnson, he is the first to actually look like Hercules since those Italian movies of the 60s that starred the likes of Mickey Hargitay and other bodybuilders. Johnson was already a big guy, but as we’ve seen in his recent movies, the guy has been getting huge. All that growth isn’t for his return to the WWE ring, but for this role. Looks like it paid off!

Action. As can be expected, this is a flick that is full of action. Unlike that other Hercules film that came out earlier this year, which was nothing but talking, Johnson’s Hercules actually kicks ass and takes names. Isn’t that what we want from Hercules? I can’t speak for you, but that’s what I want. Hercules and his Avengers-like team of warriors are not to be messed with.

Twist. I won’t spoil it, but there is a twist to the tale of Hercules that you may or may not like. For me, I could care less for it, but I appreciate the risk they took. Much in the way they changed up things in Maleficent, the filmmakers took liberties with the source material and created a new story, while teasing the one we all know.

What didn’t I like?

12 Labors. I think I mentioned it in one of the other Hercules flicks I reviewed this year, but how hard is it to get a Hercules movie that deals with the 12 labors? All the drama and other stuff that happens afterwards is fine, but not what we really want to see. Personally, I think a Hercules movie that deals with those 12 labors would be awesome, but apparently Hollywood is doing all they can to not make that film and I have no idea why. We do get a hint of the labors at the beginning of the film and during the credits, which was nothing more than a cruel tease, really. If you’re going to give it to us, give it to us!!!

Merc with a mouth. So, this film portrays Hercules as a leader of mercenaries. Not my cup of tea, honestly. I prefer Hercules to be a solo act wandering the countryside helping people, but that could be because of my affinity for Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. Still, since he is leading a band of mercenaries, supposedly this should work, but I just can’t get behind that idea.

Gods. As we all know, Hercules is the demigod son of Zeus, and yet, there is nothing more than a few mentions of the king of the gods. It appears that they were going more for the realistic tone with this one (and yet included the Hydra, Cerebus, etc.), but it just seem to me that we could have had at least an appearance somewhere, or maybe even Ian McShane’s character turns out to be Zeus? I guess that would have been too creative, though.

When all the dust clears, Hercules isn’t a bad flick. It definitely fits that summer popcorn flick mold, and for that it gets very high marks. However, the film feels like it wants to be something more. For instance, there are moments when you know you want to see blood from what happens, but because this is PG-13, we don’t get any, much like we saw in Pompeii. So, what is my recommendation on this? Well, it is worth seeing, perhaps even in the theater, but I wouldn’t rush out to see it. If you get the chance, check it out, if not, wait for the DVD/Blu-ray.

3 3/4 out of 5 stars

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2 Responses to “Hercules (2014)”

  1. Mystery Man Says:

    Reblogged this on Mr Movie Fiend's Movie Blog.

  2. Reblogged this on thepinkorchidblog and commented:
    ok well i know most of us must have watched this but here’s a review on HERCULES! Enjoy 🙂

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