1 1/2 StarsThe Legend of Hercules isn’t mush fun and lets face it, fun is exactly the tone the producers should have been aiming for. This latest incarnation of the mortal son of the gods has been developed under the same watchful eye as the creators of that ghastly Conan reboot a few years back. That should be the tip-off that loads of money have been spent on a script that doesn’t seem fit for filming, headlined by a star with the right physique and nothing else. The main difference between the two fantasy flicks is that Hercules has been directed by long-time film action ace Renny Harlin, who brings a glossy sheen to the proceedings that without his involvement this dud surely would rank among the genre’s worst.
Harlin and his cinematographer do the best the can to fill the screen with sumptuous images, whether it be the pits of the coliseum, ships at sea, or lovers in a lake. These professional touches initially mask the fact that the story is an over-wrought rip off of Troy, 300 and Gladiator, with a dash of the Herc myth added in almost as a perfunctory measure.
We first begin with a battle between King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins) and a neighboring army, this scene establishes that Harlin has studied Zack Snyder’s stripped down green-screen approach on 300 ad nasuem. Quickly the battle is over and we are back in the King’s palace during a victory celebration but the Queen is upstairs being impregnated by Zesus. The consummation hearls a child, Hercules (Kellan Lutz). The bastard son of the gods is treated like a step-son by the King, who has set his own son Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) for a role on the throne.
Cast away on an impossible mission, Hercules befriends a captain of the armed guard (Liam McIntyre) and the pair engage in various gladiatorial matches to earn passage back to Greece. Now, back on his native soil Hercules must stop his brother’s impending wedding and free the people from under the tyrannical rule of the King.
All the paces are hit in stride, the film never lingers on one plot strand for too long, which is one of the it’s most admirable traits. However Lutz is just ok in the lead role and the story is so predictable that 98 minutes feels laborious. It is always a welcomed sight to see Scott Adkins get a taste of the big-screen, he makes a worthy advisory to his fellow mesomorph Lutz. Worth a look for the curious, but will surely bore.
Director: Renny Harlin
Stars: Kellan Lutz, Gaia Weiss, Scott Adkins