Two Hercules movies in one year. I have said since January this one with the Rock could not suck nearly as bad as the first one. If you missed my review for that (I haven’t figured out how to link to FB yet…) its in the review history here on Everything Except Shoes. It sucked. It sucked so bad. It may be one of the worst movies of the year. Not the worst, that may be Transformers 4 or Brick Mansions, but its up there (down there). Enough on the past. A wise monkey told me the past can hurt. Let’s move on.
The Rock, lets face it was born to play Hercules. Did he do it?
I promised in the Lucy review that there was a similarity that was diametrically opposed. The trailers are it. The trailers for Hercules ultimately were a failure and a blessing for the movie. It succeeded so successfully in hiding what the movie really is about. What story it tells that I had all the wrong expectations going in. This is both good and bad. It is very very good that they didn’t give anything away. So nice job guys. It’s bad in that it set up the wrong story in peoples minds. You will go in expecting one thing and will come out with another. That’s not usually a good thing as those expectations can be damaging if you really wanted one thing but got another that didn’t interest you. The movie, for me, works in that I went in expecting little but got more.
From a story standpoint, if you take The Losers, A Knights Tale, and King Arthur and put them in a blender. The resulting puree is this film. That should create some interesting visuals for those familiar with those films. It verges on my no spoiler territory a bit, but I’ll leave it to your imagination to figure out what that combination brings.
I think the director could have been anyone. Probably should have been too, but I have a sort of hate for Brett Ratner and his homophobia. Most sane people do, but that’s tied to his horrific films. If you remember X3? I am sorry. If you don’t remember it – count your blessings. He was the director called in and who made many of the decisions that nearly buried the X-Men franchise. He also gave us all the Rush Hour movies even as they grew less funny.
I’d love nothing more than to say he bombed here. Sadly I can’t. He didn’t. The action is decent. The camera shots are good. The overall production is good. Some of the FX were deplorable, but you can’t have it all. Well you can, just not with this movie.
The movie is absolutely carried by its cast. Dwayne Johnson WAS in fact born to play Hercules. He gives Will Smith a run for his money as the most charismatic man on the planet. He might even beat him after the insomnia solving After Earth. What surprised me is how much the supporting cast meets him on the battlefield of charm and entertainment. They elevate the film to the next level in a way Johnson hasn’t had his last few movies. Ian McShane (Kings, Deadwood, Death Race) is in full form and allows his eye brows as his own supporting actors. He is just fun in the yoda like role he has. The surprise humor is from Knights Tale and Dark City star Rufus Sewell. He must be following the Ian MCShane handbook, but just keeps bringing a bloody smile to my face.
I’d also like to commend Ingrid Bolso Berdal as Atalanta. She’s kinda awesome in the action sequences and is worth watching. I Hope she gets a good career in action movies going forward. She sold it and has some potential.
Now…story. It’s interesting, but so cliche’d its painful. CinemaSins will have a field day once he gets his hands on it. At one point the person I saw it with started singing “I’ll make a man out of you”, which was followed by me saying “Rohim, Ride!”. We even get a Han Solo moment at the bridge between Act II and III. It’s just wow in that moment.
Hercules is a fun little romp. Its more entertaining than it has any real right to be and I am not 100% certain it’s not a fluke that it is. It’s formulaic as all Hades, but I am strangely comfortable with it. It doesn’t do too much new with its plot, but does some new things.
If you want to largely turn your brain off for an hour and a half and have time to kill go see this.
Kids? Eh 10 and up and you should be good.
This movie surprised me folks. It was just kinda fun.
Next week – I will see Guardians of the Galaxy.