UK Release: July 25th 2014
Not to be mistaken by Avi Lauer’s ‘The Legend of Hercules’, which came out earlier in the year, and did that in-cinema Asylum like undercutting of a Hollywood Summer Blockbuster (see last year’s ‘Olympus Has Fallen’ to ‘White House Down’), ‘HERCULES’, is Brett Ratner’s adaptation of the Steve Moore, Radical published comic book. Dwayne Johnson is the big man in this film, which USP on the Hercules legend is that he was ‘’the world’s first superhero’’. In the opening of the film you get an idea that Hercules has created a legend by undertaking incredible battles. One includes having a fight with a massive lion (very similar to the MGM one), which in turn has given him the best lion hat I’ve seen on screen before.
Johnson creates a great (human-like) presence to the god with super strength. The Rock clearly has worked out in this film, his legs are built up like tree trunks and his charisma is off the chain. In support you have the likes of John Hurt, Joseph Fiennes (who considering is the villain could have been given more to do, as he doesn’t register so much), Ian McShane (one of Hercules ‘LOTR’ style warriors, who can ‘predict’ his own death), who for once is a good guy (Rufus Sewell is as well), the Amazon Legolas of Aksel Hennie and Peter Mullan. One of the better characters though is Reece Ritchie’s Iolaus who a storyteller and jokingly rips apart the Monomyth of Hercules.
These small lashings of knowing humour works well (and strangely complements the 1997 Disney film of the same name). Surprisingly violent for a 12a (the film was cut to make that certificate with advice from the BBFC), Brett Ratner brings a sexual veneer to the films look and direction (also is around Irina Shayk). It is brisk (which is refreshing in the age of 2plus hours Summer Blockbusters), however the endless training sequences do repeat themselves and the film wraps itself up pretty quickly with its simplistic narrative. Still with one of the best F-bombs of the year, for a film with a title card of ‘Directed by Brett Ratner’, this is unexpected fun on a big level.