Monday, 28 July 2014

Movie Review: Hercules

In many ways, Hercules caught me by surprise. I can say that the film's unexpected take on the legend of Hercules might not appeal with certain audience groups. Basically, the film tries to tell us that the legend is not what it seems to was fabricated to make people fear or respect the titular hero instead.

The story takes place years after Hercules’ 'legendary twelve labours' and the death of his wife Megara and their children. Now, Hercules works as the leader of a group of work-for-hire mercenaries - the knife-throwing thief Autolycus, the Amazon archer Atalanta, the spear-wielding seer/fortune teller Amphiaraus, the fearless, bestial warrior Tydeus and the storyteller, Iolaus, who is also Hercules’ nephew. They're all skillful and fiercely loyal to Hercules. Hercules tries to save up enough gold so he could retreat and get a quiet peaceful life by the ocean.

Everything starts to change when the group was hired by Lord Cotys of Thrace to assist him in defeating a powerful warlord who's into the dark arts and has a strong army of centaurs by his side. As the film progresses, we soon realise that things are not what it seems to be.

The story is quite straightforward with some slight twists to the legend. Each of the characters in the film has a distinctive personality, they were given slight backstories and sufficient screen time for the audience to get to know them. Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson provides a decent performance as Hercules. He imbues his character with just enough charm and charisma to convince the audience that he fits the role perfectly. Moreover, his enormous physique shows his dedication to the role and he sure looks like the legend.

The film placed our legendary hero quite firmly in reality. The atmosphere does give a sense of realism to the film. But, the film does give an opportunity for Hercules to live up to his name and legend when the film gets to its third act. The battle scenes are well-choreographed and the battle formation strategies are both exciting and thrilling for the audience to watch. The Thracian army training by Hercules and his group of mercenaries was quite enjoyable as well. There's also some occasional funny moments in the film which provides some unexpected laughs to relieve the tension along the way.

Overall, the film is a successful realistic take on Hercules. The film does deliver an acceptable action spectacle that feels fun and entertaining despite the absence of fantasy elements that usually comes with the legend.

Rating: 7/10

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