At any other time of the year a Brett Ratner production of Hercules starring Dwayne Johnson may seem baffling but it is Summer Season. It is perfectly acceptable. The trailer looked decent and with a run time of 98mins surely all would be fine………
PLOT: Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) and his band of merry men travel the length and breadth of Thrace (Older Greece) working as mercenaries. Hercules is famous for his twelve labours and infamous for the murder of his wife and young family. Hercules is hired by Lord Cotys (John Hurt) to defend his city and battles for money. Hercules finds that all is not what it seems and battles for honour. END PLOT
The film does not stick close to the traditional legend but Hercules and friends embellishing the lore to boost Hercules’s street cred had the potential to be a fun addition to the proceedings. Unfortunately the film took itself seriously and the script was far too weak to give any credence to the tone. The annoying narration by, Ialaus, (Reece Ritchie) did not help.
Although the trailer may have indicated otherwise the labours only appear in flashbacks and have very little to do with the main events. The trailer for Hercules is very misleading as the film is actually about Hercules training a small army then being ambushed twice whilst rambling through Thrace.
The storyline was paper thin but a walk through history was not the reason I went to see the film. The reason was Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock. Johnson is at his best when he pops up as a secondary character and gets to bring his beefy badass shtick but he took the role of Hercules very seriously and with that he lost his charm and sense of fun.
John Hurt, Joseph Fiennes and Ian McShane made up the supporting cast and all were fine, if uninspiring, in their roles. Rufus Sewell was great fun and lifted the drab proceedings when he appeared on screen. Unfortunately for us all Hercules was masquerading as a serious biopic therefore Sewell’s screen time was limited. This was one of many mistakes.
Admit it. You thought about blowing the dust of A Knight's Tale didn't you.
As there was more walking in Hercules than The Lord of the Rings there were countless helicopter shots showing pretty scenery. The sets weren’t unpleasing to look either at but there was nothing spectacular on offer. The same can be said for the action. It was all decently choreographed but there was no attempt at anything new. The feeling of familiarity was rife throughout the entire film.
It is quite an achievement to have the audience looking at their watches during a film that is only 98mins long. There were periods when absolutely nothing happened. If the feasting and walking scenes were removed from the film it would be a 40min big budget episode of… erm…. Hercules. It may have been better for it.
Hercules took the tried and tested and made it tired and detested*. As a fan of The Rock I will give it a very forgiving 5/10. If others aren’t so lenient I couldn’t argue against it.
*Yes. I kept this in.