Rental Corner: “Herclues” is action routine but still fun
Why is it that a move on the demi-god Hercules is hard to make these days? Is the idea of a stronger than average man taking up twelve tasks not interesting enough for a movie? Do we remember the good old days of sword and sandal films that were cheesy and fun? Well, that is where “Hercules” comes in. The only problem is that is an adaption of Steve Moore’s comic and I’m unfortunately not familiar with it. Which makes me wonder how close to the source it was or just how diverse it gets? Neither one would surprise as being a film on its own terms, its enjoyable but for the wrong reasons.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays out title character who’s stories have been known far and wide as he has a band of mercenaries by his side in a major crusade. There’s an archer, his story-telling nephew, a prophet that can look into the future, one that throws knives and one that chucks spears. So yeah its The Expendables meets the TV show Hercules with Xena’s production. And that’s basically what it is. The whole movie has this weightless action/adventure tone that is nice but feels uneven seeing how expansive and grand it looks and feels at times. This is basically modernized telling of the Hercules mythos complete with modern terminology add to its action scenes and dialogue. Now its not bothersome to the point it pulls you out, but it does get wear thin seeing how massive yet Shakespearean it feels. Think Dragonheart but more lighter and action-oriented. But while Dragonheart didn’t feel too dated seeing the mannerisms and characters could fit a medieval setting, Hercules suffers because it doesn’t feel like this could all be set in its own time. Everything just screams modernization. Even right down to how the action is on par with today’s action movies.
But there are some upsides to it. Dwayne is surprisingly good as Hercules that it makes you wonder how he would be if this movie was taken seriously. Dwayne is able to carry out the fun of the film as he takes his roles with charm and entertainment. He doesn’t feel dull or act too serious but enough to at least show a variation of the Greek myth. This is where the mercenaries suffer because they all feel like cliches from action movies like The Expendables. These are characters I can sort see in modern day just by how they act upon one another. Its like a Diet Coke version of The Avengers but less personality. Once in a while they can be fun but mostly feel like basic characters.
Aside from standard action, the only real reason to see this movie is for John Hurt. Not that I’m a big fan but for the fact that he saves the movie from feeling mundane. He plays a tyrannical ruler that uses Hercules and his band for invasion with a simple motive to be in power to the end. On paper, its routine but John’s performance makes it unique starting off noble and Shakespearean and only going over the top for the end when needed. Had the movie gone this route of being serious, maybe it wouldn’t feel a tad forgettable.
As “Hercules” stands, the production value looks nice and the actors do their job well keeping the viewer entertained. But if your expecting a grand telling of the myth, you will be disappointed. I have no problems with a modernized take just as long as its evened out and enjoyable. Its risky to balance between making a story of the past and give it a modern take and while it doesn’t feel too dated, it makes you wish this was taken more seriously considering the scope and scale of the visual elements. But I can’t deny entertainment value when I see it. Only worth it for those elements listed above and if you really need some mindless fun.
Posted on December 18, 2014, in Rental Corner and tagged Action, Clash of the Titans, Demi god, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Fantasy, Greek myth, Hercules, John Hurt, rental corner, Steve moore. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.