Totally Biased Review: Hercules

Brett Ratner can finally be forgiven for bequeathing us with X-Men: The Last Stand.

The director hasn’t been nearly as active since his super hero dud, unless you’re counting Rush Hour 3, which, if you are, please, just… leave. Alas! We must keep our chins up, for Ratner has given us a serviceable underdog hit.

Based on the graphic novels Hercules: The Thracian Warsby Steve Moore and Cris Bolsin, Hercules is faced with living up to the sky high expectations that his legends have built up for him. Having finally conquered his legendary 12 labours, the Greek demigod is living out his days as a mercenary, in the land of Thrace. When King Cotys (John Hurt) and his daughter seek his, ahem, assistance, in disposing of the warlord Rhesus (Tobias Santelmann), Hercules is tested in ways the labours could not.

Yeah. That guys over 40.

Dwayne Johnson embodies the demigod perfectly. He is used flawlessly, never having to show a wide range of emotions, however the ones that Hercules does let his fearless followers see, Johnson absolutely owns. Not to mention, the former wrestler hasn’t been shy about how hard he had to work to keep his body in such peak physical shape while shooting in Budapest. In a recent AMA on the site Reddit, the actor said he suffered a tear in two muscles near his pelvis six weeks before shooting, which ultimately led to three separate tears in his hernia. Thus giving us another reason to marvel at the creature from some foreign planet that is Dwayne Johnson. The actor also proved that he can absolutely carry a movie as the star, provided it be fit to his strengths, and Hercules was almost all of those strengths wrapped in to one bad-ass, revenge craved, Greek hero.

Those who play the band of misfits that Hercules has surrounded himself with, also nail their perfectly cast roles. Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), Atalanta (Ingrid Berdal), Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), and Iolaus (Reece Ritchie), are all fully fleshed out and Ratner does a great job making sure each is given a moment to shine during the films 98-minute reel. Hurt is freakishly good in a role that demanded execution. No surprise there.

The cinematography was above average, capturing a plethora of different angles during each of the films fights, and trust me, there’s plenty of them (thankfully!). There were a handful of cheesy, Conan-esque moments, but would it really be a good Hercules movie without at least a few of those? And trust me, when they do happen, it just… feels right.

The plot is well written and doesn’t extend itself past it’s own reach. With a shorter run time than almost any other summer release, especially one like his, the movie does a killer job of delivering on a few different twists and turns, and wraps neatly. It will be interesting to see how the movie will do at the office and if Paramount Pictures orders a sequel.

 I mean, we already know The Rock is ready to reprise the role.

“I trained and worked harder than ever for 8 months for this role. Lived alone and locked myself away (like a moody 260-lb. monk) in Budapest for 6 months while filming. Goal was to completely transform into this character. Disappear in the role. Press journalist asked me today, with the mental & physical toll the role had on me, would I do it again? Not only would I do it again.. I’d do it fucking twice.

The movie is best seen on an IMAX 3D screen if possible. The official Hercules release date is July 2

+PROs and CONs The Rock is the perfect man to play Hercules
+ Supporting characters are fully fleshed
+ Action was nothing short of breathtaking

– The cheesy moments are definitely present…
– It wouldn’t have killed me to see more of the mythical side of his labours

7/10 for Hercules. This one is worth your time, don't let it get lost in the oncoming Guardians and TMNT stampede

7/10 for Hercules. This one is worth your time, don’t let it get lost in the oncoming Guardians and TMNT stampede

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