What makes a legend? The stories? The deeds? The mark of the man? Or is it the change from a man to something more? Hercules is a story about this. We have been exposed to the legend, we have heard the stories, the tales. What if he really was a man who rose up and became larger than life itself? And in doing so, does he truly become immortal? Too many questions, huh? Never mind, director Brett Ratner answers them with his sword-and-sandal epic. Dwayne Johnson dons the mantle (make that the lion’s hide) of Hercules. This movie takes place in ancient times where legend and fact mix. However, the story here is rather straightforward. Mercenary turns hero, sinner turns saint. But it falls short of the mark.
The film takes place in ancient Greece, where Hercules is already an established hero. He has his comrades-in-arms, played by Rufus Sewell, Ian Mcshane, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal and Aksel Hennie. Together, they are a band for hire and with their blades, they play a merry tune. Now, Hercules is in exile, living out his days. He gets called back for one mission where the payday is huge. He has to hunt down a warlord and save the kingdom of Thrace. This is where Hercules has to decide whether he has what it takes to become the legend.
With John Hurt
, Irina Shayk
and Joseph Fiennes
rounding off the cast, Hercules
has the makings of an amazing film. But it fails to make the grade. Sure, it has the requisite battle scenes, the hero seeking redemption, the villain gaining the upper hand, the close quarters combat, and a twist of some sort. Then again, this is all predictable. Right down to the moment. There isn’t a lot to be surprised about. There is a little bit to disappointed by, for example, Hercules
gives a rousing speech to a gathered army but the speech is three lines long. Compare that to Russell Crowe’s Gladiator, where a speech fired up the blood, and you are left feeling rather let down. The story is based on a set of comics, but the length of the story is cut short. You are shown glimpses into the past, but if you have no idea about the labors of Hercules, then they won’t mean a thing to you. A passable film where there is the necessary violence and blood.
Why should you watch the film?
Hercules is a good film compared to the other one that was inflicted on us. Dwayne Johnson does his part. Massive pecs are not the only things that make their presence felt. But the actors who shone are Ian Mcshane, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal and Aksel Hennie. They are good in their parts; Mcshane adds laconic wit to the proceedings and Berdal is wonderful as a beautiful, but deadly Amazon archer. Aksel Hennie is good, which is quite surprising considering the lines that he gets. His reach as an actor makes him believable. Brett Ratner delivers a decent epic where the action doesn’t stop for a minute. A movie where you can see a true test of character.