“Hercules” | Movie Review

Grade (B-)

Sure this film had some flaws but in the end it was an entertaining adventure with Johnson owning the lead role of Hercules.

The classic mythological hero, and son of Zeus has been portrayed several times over the years in film and television, and 2014 alone brought three film adaptations of the adventurous Hercules.

This was clearly the largest budgeted of the trio and starred Dwayne Johnson (Furious 7 2015) in the lead and boasted Brett Ratner (Tower Heist 2011) in the directors chair which would naturally accrue more publicity with these two names attached.

I have watched several Hercules films and television shows over the years and this was clearly the best of what I’ve seen. There seems no better person to play the titular character then Johnson, whose size and appearance make him suited visually and with some range in acting it only makes him more then just a visual hero in this film. He was able to deliver a compelling performance and all the necessary emotions for keeping the story-line intriguing.

The rest of the cast was also very good in this film. Ian McShane (John Wick 2014) and Rufus Sewell  (The Devil’s Hand 2014) were great as counterparts to Hercules. Their delivery of the clever dialogue was timed perfect and added a nice flow to otherwise traditional genre scripting. The wit their characters gave added for a good flow between the lighter and more intense moments.

The budget for this one hovered around the $100 million dollar mark and you can see throughout that it was put to great use. The wardrobes and backdrops were extremely well detailed and served as a perfect setting to the great selection in locations. All of this added with the decent script this film delivered and the excellent performances from the cast, do a great job of pulling the viewer into the story.

The battle sequences were well choreographed and extremely well shot to give the viewer the most of the climactic action that is taking place. The violence and intensity of the battles are captivating as well, as is the subtle use of special-effects among the chaotic action that convey the true strength of Hercules. There have been endless amounts of films based on ancient Greece references and they all have large scale battle sequences, but this one was still able to add some freshness to them with the angles used in the cinematography and the creative orchestration.

On the downside, while there were several strong aspects to this film there were some hindrances that in the end were noticeable, but not a deal breaker in regards to enjoyment. With the trailer to this one I was hoping to see more of the monsters and massive beasts that Hercules faced. Much of the these sequences were done less than ten-minutes in and other then some beefed up wolves there wasn’t much of them to be seen in the rest of the film.

While it played out with entertaining fashion the addition of more monstrous beasts could have really gone far for capturing the time-period feel, thus separating it from films like “Troy” and “Gladiator”. Two films that provided much higher levels of writing, but slightly less action. With more of a “Cash of the Titans” angle to the beasts, this one would have had a feel of its own and closer to the titular heroes fables that I remember.

In the end this was still a highly entertaining film and other then a couple of out of place lines, it still kept a serious tone. The script wasn’t to the level of a “Gladiator” but it was much more detailed then it was expecting.

While I was anticipating something closer to a mindless action tale such as the “Conan the Barbarian” remake, it was somewhere in the middle and surprised in entertainment value. It was intriguing throughout and holds a decent pace never really having to many lulls. With clear ambition shown, the minor flaws are not hard to overlook to simply enjoy this retelling of the famous character it was based on.