Studio: Paramount Pictures
Reviewed by: Tony Velocity
Going into Hercules I honestly expected just another re-telling of the twelve labors, but done in a cheap 300 knock-off style a few too many years after the hype. This movie flipped my expectations on their head. This is set in a world with no monsters, gods, or magic...however they do drop subtle hints that Ian McShane's seer character is able to prophesize certain events, as well as just how uncannily strong Herc can be. The dude flips a horse…flips a freaking horse!
Now, director Brett Ratner is known for the horribly stinky X-Men: The Last Stand, but also the entertaining Rush Hour movies. When he's allowed to have a bit of fun making films, you can really tell. This movie wasn't as serious or as dark as I was expecting. The few comedic lines were well timed and good comic relief, and although The Rock might not be Kevin Sorbo, I was reminded of the Sam Raimi Hercules series…in a good way. Another thing I enjoyed about this movie was the rag tag group of mercs seemingly pulled from a D&D game. We had the tough Amazonian archer, the battle born berzerker (who could pull off the best crazy eyes I've seen in a while), the seer with a few neat gadgets like his bladed staff as well as lawnmower chariot, Herc’s nephew the storyteller and aspiring warrior, and finally a puckish rogue who took a few pages out of the Han Solo’s book. John Hurt pulls off another great role as the King of Thrace as he goes from wise and friendly grandpa to evil mofo in the blink of an eye.
Movies these days feel like they need at least three hours to tell a story, where Hercules gets the job done in half the time without feeling rushed. And the shining glory of this flick has to be the battle scenes. They were fast-paced, exciting, and never went on too long. The action was intense…but it wasn’t an unnecessary bloodbath. Now, don’t get me wrong, there were guys getting cut down left and right, but there wasn't any Super-Soaker style splatter going on. Most action movies of this ilk tend to use more fake blood and CGI gore than a cheap horror movie, but Hercules keeps its focus on the action and less on the viscera. Most of the fights were pretty original, plus like I mentioned earlier, The Rock flips a horse, as well as kicks a hay cart into the air and into a bunch of guys! I had a great time watching this, it was a ‘90s movie with a 2014 budget. I really dug the bits of comedy, the super cheesy, "To be a hero, all you have to do is believe in yourself!" speeches, and the return of the long forgotten training montage!