Hercules is an action adventure movie taking place during the epic era, a film about the Greek demi-god Hercules and his apprentices. Director Brett Ratner is known for the addition of slapstick comedy to serious materials and for disintegrating good action themes with his not-so-appealing direction. That being said, the director alone can’t be held accountable for everything wrong about the movies. After seeing his name on the poster, I was hesitant about the quality of the film which is based on a popular source material, also Hollywood is notorious for white washing the epics taking place in Europe and Middle East. Thankfully, Hercules is a good action-packed flick.
Hercules is given is 12 daunting tasks to prove his greatness, most daunting is the fight with the impenetrable Lion which was killed by Hercules with his bare hands. His fame takes him to greater audience and comes across several challenges which also helped him earn great deal of money. Hercules and his loyal apprentices; Amphiaraus (Ian McShane) the seer who could foresee his death from time to time, Autolycus (Rufus Sewell) the rogue, Tydeus (Aksel Hennie) the wildchild, Atlanta (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) the archer & only female warrior and Iolaus (Reece Ritchie) the storyteller. King of Thrace Cotys (John Hurt) is under attack and his daughter Ergenia (Rebecce Ferguson) seek help from Hercules after days of her attempt to find him. Hercules trains the King’s army against Rhesus (Tobias Santelmann) but eventually he discovers the conspiracy within which puts him at crossroads.
The premise is simple with a side story to Hercules’s character as well as his fighters. There are several indigestible elements like a father ordering the death of his own daughter and the story arc related to Rhesus’s army which wasn’t explained that well. The plot seemed too rushed to give priority to the fight sequences. So, after viewing this film, one might not remember it. The characters are interesting but lacked soul. The most interesting person is Amphiaraus played by Ian McShane. After several back-to-back films where he played the antagonist, it was nice to see humane part of him in ensemble movie. McShane is a controlled actor and the scene where he is proved wrong about his death is both artistic and hilarious, not to mention, his colleagues stare at him with teary eyes whenever he mentioned it making it even better. The plot related to Tydeus is less impressive therefore the effect of the climax sequence wasn’t upto the point, as he hardly had the screen-time to have that depth.Atlanta is an awesome character who deserves a story of her own, except for the action scenes, her character is underused although she broke stereotypes a typical woman faced in ancient days. Like silencing King Cotys’s sexist talk with her skills as an archer and training soldiers. As Atlanta, Nicole Kidman… I mean 😛 Ingrid Bolso Berdal did a flexible job. While watching the first 30 minutes of the screen time, I genuinely thought that she is Nicole Kidman. Reece Ritchie had an adorable presence but the circumstances surrounding his character is such that, it was predictable on how his character is going to end up, an aspiring warrior who does something brave. It again raises the question, why should Hercules take an untrained storyteller in the middle of a war, that too against a dangerous army? John Hurt delivered his typical style of portrayal, but it succeeded in making his character despicable. Dwayne Johnson makes this movie what it is. It might seem silly, or over the top, based on the audience’s perceptions and interests but Johnson has a minimum guarantee in terms of performance. He makes the screen lively with his facial expressions, body language and dry sense of humor. Technically, the fight sequences were shot proficiently to feel the pace but the music is over the top at some points. The effects and settings gave the feel of ancient Greece but the dialogues seemed modern. 3D effects are notable especially during the second war scene where Atlanta leads an army of archers on chariots, to attack Rheseus.
Hercules is just an entertainer with no depth although there was scope for it. It can be viewed with friends who enjoy action films for the sake whistling and cheering but the movie will be forgotten after 45 minutes of viewing.
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