If you’re expecting a Greek epic film out of the Greek epic hero Hercules, you’re on the wrong path.
The Greek demigod Hercules (Dwayne Johnson), son of Zeus, has performed his 12 labors and suffered immensely, but something still haunts him.
He is now a mercenary with a group of others: seer Amphiarus (Ian McShane), best friend Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), scarred warrior Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), Amazonian Atalanta (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) and nephew Iolaus (Reece Richie). All these supporting cast members get a unique weapon and background, but they don’t feel any more than cliché at times.
They have been contracted by Lord Cotys (John Hurt) to vanquish a resistance, but things change and truths come to light that Hercules and his friends wish to fix for Thrace, Greece and Cotys’ daughter Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson).
The running time was barely over 90 minutes, but this isn’t Disney’s Hercules. Director Brett Ratner made Hercules starring “The Rock,” for better and worse. Herc is a badass for sure, but things his character and everything happening around him don’t always feel as important as they should. None of the supporting characters are fleshed out, and at times, Hercules himself even feels like he hasn’t been fully realized.
Johnson is only so-so as the main character — he really wasn’t given much to work with considering the script spends more time on the development of his muscles instead of his character.
McShane throws in a delightful performance as a prophetic man, while Reece Richie spins tales of Hercules’ past that are a delight to hear. Another strong performance worth noting is delivered by Joseph Fiennes as King Eurystheus, a seemingly light-hearted but wily king.
This film being a “popcorn flick” doesn’t take itself too seriously, so you will get a good laugh from time to time (including the one f-bomb the PG-13 movies allow) that balance out the grand special effects one might expect from a high-budget summer action blockbuster.
Nothing is technically wrong with the movie and the scenic views can be spectacular, but the movie fails to enthrall the audience on any level — it’s got a shiny surface, but for the most part, Hercules is hollow inside.
It’s definitely a popcorn flick, and I did enjoy the sometimes mindless battles, but lackluster plot and hastened pace make for a bit of a disappointment.
Photos via: Paramount Pictures