There have been several movies featuring the legendary demigod Hercules. One of the most well-known versions was the 1997 animated film from Disney. Although I’ve seen bits and pieces of that version, it still gave me the knowledge about the origins of Hercules. With two movies featuring the hero came out this year, I assume the latest version starring Dwayne Johnson and directed by Brett Ratner (who completely ruined the X-Men trilogy) is much more entertaining than 2014’s first big flop The Legend of Hercules, in which I avoided like the plague. However, one of the film’s reasons why it’s rated PG-13 is among the several problems I had with it. It’s not as bad as I expected it to be, but it’s nothing special.
Hercules opens up with, like with the other versions, the origins of the legendary hero. He became the son of Zeus (or more accurately, Jupiter) and known for his unbelievable strength, spent twelve labors, betrayed by his wife Hera, and believed he ended up murdering her and his children. Years later, he becomes mortal and shows up wearing a hide of Leo the Lion (I’m hoping you get the joke) to save his nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchie) from the pirates who don’t believe the truth of Hercules. We see him as a leader of a group of mercenaries going to Thrace to be hired by King Cotys (John Hurt) to train his army in order to defend his kingdom by the vicious warlord Rhesus.
There is some entertaining scenes in this movie. The battle scenes are actually pretty good. Ratner knows how to film action, however, they are ruined by the poorly rendered CG effects. Some of the effects here make the effects from Ghost Rider look quite exhilarating. The backstories of Hercules are also ruined by Ratner’s weak direction. For instance, the first flashback with his wife and children getting slaughtered comes out of nowhere with absolutely no feeling of intimidation whatsoever. I understand this is a popcorn flick, but some of the one-liners makes the tone go into a completely different path.
I can’t imagine a better actor than Dwayne Johnson to play the titular role. With his WWE days behind him, he’s becoming capable of being a talented actor. Sure, he might star in some bad movies (like Tooth Fairy, where he wears a tutu), it’s impossible not to love this guy. He does a good job bringing loads of muscles and giving speeches like William Wallace from Braveheart or King Theoden from The Lord of the Rings.