I vowed to steer clear of this movie the first time I saw its trailer. But after finding out that Australian actor Liam McIntyre (Spartacus) and Scott Adkins (Undisputed) had roles in the movie, I decided to give it a shot. Now, I can’t get this disaster out of my head and I learned the hard way that I should have listened to my instincts.
After witnessing the greed and ruthlessness of her husband King Amphitryon (Adkins), Queen Alcemene seeks the aid of the goddess Hera in ending his reign of terror. Hera, sensing her sincerity, decides to help her by having her own husband Zeus sire a son by the queen — a demigod named Hercules, who is destined to put an end to Amphitryon’s tyranny. Twenty years later, Hercules, raised as the king’s second son Alcides, finds love with Hebe, the princess of Crete. But the king has other plans for Hebe, as he decrees that she is to be wed with Amphitryon’s eldest son and heir Iphicles. In order to ensure that Alcides/Hercules does not pose a problem to the union, the king sends him off on a suicide mission under the command of Sotiris (McIntyre). Unfortunately, this plan fails and the two are able to return to Greece to reclaim Hebe and launch a rebellion against Amphitryon’s wickedness.
I’m finding it difficult to decide what I hated most about this film. In all fairness, it wasn’t 100% bad because there were some decent action scenes in this movie — well, those that were not watered down by excessive use of slow motion, anyway.
But darn it, there were just too many things that were problematic about this movie whatever potential it may have had in the title was completely drowned by the overall cheesiness and lack of substance that was the general theme of the film. First, there was the abrupt editing and the awkward transitions. Then, there was the fact that the best actor in this movie (McIntyre) was underacting to give way to Kellan Lutz, who tried his best but failed to live up to the larger than life character of the title role. Then another great actor Scott Adkins, was forced to reduce his character to a villain only capable of jealous rages and expanded monologues. Then, there was the shallow plotline and the fact that nothing truly made sense after the first several minutes of the movie?
The Legend of Hercules was problematic from the beginning because despite Hercules being one of the most popular characters in Greek mythology, with a wealth of adventures which should have served as a gold mine for the scriptwriters (I can’t believe it took four people to come up with this drivel), they chose instead to focus on the most basic information from literature and go with their own story, which totally sucked because it was a mere composite of Spartacus, Gladiator, 300, Samson and Delilah and Masters of the Universe (Yes, the one with He-Man). The fact that filmmakers copied from these movies and didn’t present them as well was a great insult to moviegoers who spent 90 minutes of their precious time on this.
The problem was compounded by one dimensional characters, and the mass of inconsistencies that followed. It also didn’t help that despite the $70 million production budget for this movie, it still managed to look cheap because of the unrealistic CGI which shot any hope of making the movie feel epic out of the window. In truth, I was expecting more from director Renny Harlin because he has managed to helm some decent movies — Cliffhanger, Die Hard 2, 12 Rounds — well, this movie is a testament that nobody is perfect, after all.
All in all, Kellan Lutz spending most of the movie shirtless is not enough, even for the most dedicated of Emmet Cullen fans, to sit through this movie. It was horrible and a complete affront to the audience’s intelligence. I only finished this movie in order to give it a fair review, and I should say that I was willing to make that sacrifice in order for others not to suffer a similar fate. My verdict — steer clear of this movie, please.