So, does everyone remember in the 90s when every other thing was about Hercules? There was a Disney movie, Kevin Sorbo was bringing back the 60s with his chest hair, and everyone wanted to slay a hydra. Hercules and Greek mythology have supplied filmmakers with dozens of ideas and some of them have been successful. Others have not and have fallen into the abyss like Xena: Warrior Princess. Within the last few years a rekindling of sorts has sprung up; trying to reclaim their former Grecian glory and impress moviegoers with recreated ideas and effects. Recently, I got to see the most recent of Herculean stories,The Legend of Hercules, and I’m sad to say it is no golden fleece.
I’ve always been a fan of sci fi and heroic stories so Hercules stands out as being in some of my favorites. The idea of a normal guy who finds out he has the potential to do great things is very powerful. The guiding force is really what they choose to do with that potential. If you don’t know the story of Hercules, please for the love of Zeus, do not use this movie as your keystone. While there are many interpretations, the major one is that Hercules, born from a human mother who was impregnated by the Greecian god king Zeus. Hercules is then tested in some form or fashion by a set of challenges in order to save someone or prove to Zeus he belongs with the gods. This film kind of ignores that completely. In this film, Hercules is a prince, scorned by his father because he knows the queen was unfaithful. The King eventually sends Hercules to fight a war he cannot win only to have Hercules succeed, discover his lineage, and rescue his girlfriend literally overnight. They do make one reference to a Herculean task with a Nubean lion but expect no explanation from the film. You’ll have to look that up yourself.
Before I even saw this film, I knew it was going to have some issues. Let’s start with the most obvious. Hercules is portrayed by Kellan Lutz. While Lost in Reviews has had some one on one time with the actor and from what I hear he may be the nicest guy with a six pack, he may be more apt at selling gym memberships than movie tickets. His acting abilities are laughable in this film. Overdramatic, awkward, and sluggish; He was about as effective as a pen with no ink at making me believe I was watching the actual Hercules. The producers should have spent less money on protein shakes and more on a more believable leading man. While the Twihards may enjoy him, this is ultimately what killed the movie for me before it even began.
Out of all the actors I could have chosen to play this role, Lutz is most evidently not my first pick. Who would I choose? Probably someone with more action experience at least. Someone who fills a frame that looks like he could literally carry a Cretian bull, perhaps even the most electrifying man in sports entertainment? I would have to agree. In fact, just such a man is set to play another version of the Hercules stories titled, Hercules: the Thracian Wars. This film, is actually set to release fairly soon and in my opinion may have played a role on the quality of Lutz’s version. Most importantly influencing the quality due to the fact it needed to come out before The Rock’s version. This has happened before with other films, and I’d actually like to believe this is the case with some of the other issues I have otherwise I’d be even more disappointed. Details like a plot being merely mediocre and using poorly processed CGI to fill in the gaps, even for details as simple flowing water and fire fall victims to CGI when time and money are running slim. In a few of the Coliseum scenes, I expected pod racers to fly by with the CGI so obviously lacking grace.
It’s disappointing to watch a film with such potential fall victim to lack of planning and forethought. The Legend of Hercules could have been an exciting reintroduction to the world of Hercules. Some fight scenes are well done and visually really fun to watch but those make up about 10% of the whole movie. At least we have another Hercules movie to look forward to if that’s really what you’re craving. Personally, I don’t think it would be hard for The Rock to layeth the smacketh down this time. I guess we’ll soon see.
I give The Legend of Hercules 2 “horse slaps” out of 5.
by Jason Burleson