Elsewhere Review: The Legend of Hercules

My eyes are still bleeding from the pain of having to sit through this one.

As always, feel free to clicky on the hyperlinked title for the original piece!


The Legend of Hercules: mythologically bad.

Twitview: Avoid. The stills from this film are better than the film itself. 1 out of 5

Renny Harlin harkens back to his Cutthroat Island days with The Legend of Hercules, a film so derivative and dull that I’m shocked it took me 45 minutes to want to check Candy Crush Saga.Hercules is a mish-mosh of 300, The Matrix, and Braveheart (let’s take back our kingdom y’all!), a testosterone fest too dull for even the biggest fan of bloodsport. Think Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome meets Clash of the Titans, but with no bits of humor to make it enjoyable, nor convincing storyline to make anyone care about who lives or dies.

I had high hopes for this film. A bunch of beautiful men in skirts. Not too shabby, right? Add Psychotic king and his bereaved wife, who decides to opt for a little Olympic hanky-panky. Meanwhile the heir to the throne — and Hercules’ half-brother — is a petulant wimp that couldn’t find his…purpose in life…with two hands and a road map. All of that makes for a promising hero-bent-on-revenge flick.  Ahh, empty promises.

I was stoked at the thought of seeing Greek myths on the big screen. But is the mythology accurate here? Not even close. There’s a guy in Greek mythology named Hercules, who was fathered by the god Zeus. He killed the Nemean Lion, and he was hella strong. And that’s all this film gets right. Where are the rest of the 7 Labors? I guess the budget was so low that they couldn’t spring for any more CGI. The film does get a brownie point for actual Greek combat tactics.

It’s bad when I think “okay honestly; where are they going with this?” more than twice. And in this film I had that thought roughly every five minutes. I couldn’t even enjoy the mayhem; there’s NO blood at all, except for a faint, artistic, 1/4” circle of the stuff around a blade when a woman gets stabbed. I’m guessing they kept this film to a PG-13 rating for the young Twilight fans who wanted to see Kellan Lutz.

Kellan Lutz is hot. This is known. But to carry a film? Not really. Bless his heart. For this I blame director Renny Harlin. Harlin has made movies so crazy they’re good, thanks to a wink and a smile at the audience, and a high dose of camp. (Check out Deep Blue Sea and The Long Kiss Goodnight.)  However, Hercules is so stone-cold serious there’s no room for the actors to make the story enjoyable. You could fall back on the beauty of the locations, but some scenes are so obviously filmed on a soundstage they’re painful to watch. I feel bad for the filmmakers, having these poorly filmed scenes tacked onto their resume like a dead albatross.

There are so many hiccups in story progression that it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on; at the climax of the film, Hercules is shown wearing a lion’s pelt. Hey, is that the Nemean Lion that he killed earlier, the one his brother took credit for and wore himself? Who knows? But when his foe strikes that pelt from Hercules’ shoulders, the camera lingers on watching it fall, as if that Means Something. What I’m guessing is that means any scene that showed what importance that pelt could have had was surely cut from the film. Hooray continuity!

Harlin does get props for his amazing ability to create a film about a famous mythological figure without actually referencing any real mythology. This movie is about Hercules, in as much as there’s a guy named Hercules, who killed a lion and was really strong. The end.

About Denise

Professional nerd. Lover of licorice.
This entry was posted in Elsewhere Reviews, GeekForE and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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