Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Hercules (2014) - Review

The titled character and his fellow band of mercenaries accept their latest job, simply so they can have their own weight in gold. Tasked with defending a poor kingdom and leading its army against a ruthless warlord, the group venture out to be soaked in the blood and bile of their opponents. For a PG-13 film, HERCULES is an extreme gorefest, featuring wholesale slaughter, vicious weaponry, and a ton of severed heads stuck on pikes. This is okay for young children, MPAA? Putting the moral concerns of a dumb ratings board aside, I did in fact enjoyed in the partaking of this swords and sandals romp. The film's most ingenuous overall idea, amid all of the deadly yet fun carnage and light comedy, is to find the reality within the myth, to show off the heroic demigod and his great exploits but then pull back the veil and display the true story. To give a minor example, we spot a brief glance of The Hydra in the prologue, only to later find out in another flashback that the "creature" was actually a barbaric clan that hid in the waters and all wore a serpent-modeled helmet. This clever approach keeps the blockbuster nice and fresh and helps distinguish it as a worthy watch, standing a bit above the Steve Reeves pictures and certainly overshadowing the dumb Kellan Lutz one released earlier this year. That being said, this reality-based approach doesn't stop director Bret Ratner and the rest of the makers from featuring inhuman action efforts like the mighty sight of Herc suplexing a horse. The blood may turn off most families and its script does falter at times when trying to connect too many plots but HERCULES still remains strong, especially with Dwayne Johnson at the helm as the believably beefy hero.


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