Hercules (2014/The Rock)

Hercules2014Suggested by Brad Nelson • Having endured his legendary twelve labors, Hercules, the Greek demigod, has his life as a sword-for-hire tested when the King of Thrace and his daughter seek his aid in defeating a tyrannical warlord.
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4 Responses to Hercules (2014/The Rock)

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    This movie did not receive good reviews or a high rating. Even so, I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to say that this is a fun movie. If you liked Kevin Sorbo’s “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,” you can think of this Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson version as being a good episode of that series, and one with a bigger budget ($100,000,000). It doesn’t look as if they’ve made their money back on it yet by a long shot.

    This is currently streaming on Netflix so I thought I’d give it a go. This is based upon a comic book and is not the retelling of his twelve labors. And in this, Hercules is assumed to be a man, not a demigod. It is assumed by his core of fighters, including Hercules himself, that he is just a man but that feeding off the myth of him being the son of Zeus is good for business.

    This works well enough as a running backdrop on the story, which is of Hercules and his band of warriors coming to the assistance (for hire) of the King of Thrace

    Battles and intrigue ensue and I won’t give anything. For Herk fans, I think you’ll appreciate Rufus Sewell as Autolycus and Ian McShane as Amphiaraus, the warrior-seer. Both are nice additions to his core group, as is Aksel Hennie as maniacal Tydeus. Disappointing, however, is the very weak portrayal of the Amazonian, Atatlanta, by Ingrid Bolsø Berdal. She pails in comparison to the Atalanta in “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys” played by Corinna Everson. I’m guessing one of the reasons this movie didn’t do so well because of this weak character, as well as the (at least to me) annoying presence of John Hurt as Lord Cotys who is long past his prime. He seemed way out of place in this picture.

    But The Rock works as a kind of Sorbo-like rendition of the son of Zeus. There’s no comedy in this (that I remember). But he has certainly buffed himself sufficiently and plays the part well. But the standards in the Hercules genre are not particularly high to begin with, so it’s all relative.

    Another thing that might have hurt this film is that the battle scenes were a little more realistic than what is typical of the genre. That’s not to say there wasn’t a lot of hacking and slicing. But it wasn’t as stupidly over-the-top as most of these films are these days. And I think that probably hurt it with its core crowd of juvenile nose-pickers. But I (as a slightly older nose-picker) could appreciate the understatement (of sorts). There aren’t a lot of stupid throw-away one-liners either. In fact, in many ways this movie is restrained. Again, that probably hurt it at the box office.

    But I otherwise found it to be a lot of fun.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      To me, the low bar is set by Clash of the Titans with its cutesy mechanical owl (which a friend referred to as “Owl 2 Dee 2”). I also prefer that those based on specific myths not depart too much from them, but this is irrelevant if it’s a movie of unreported events in the life of a mythic character.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        It’s a low point I happen to find entertaining. I mean, how could any movie with Sir Laurence Olivier not be great, and one that gave us the phrase, “Release the Kraken“?

        Add to that cast Maggie Smith, Ursula Andress, Burgess Meredith, Siân Phillips, and Harry Hamlin and you have the makings of Saturday Matinee Extreme.

        And that’s what kind of film it was. They call such things “popcorn” films these days, but I think that just trivializes the genre, as if these were film that are so bad that they’re good (a category unto itself). Nor is this the mindless action flick so popular today. This actually has a good story with some good characters.

        That stupid mechanical owl was certainly childish and is in the long line of characters in movies or TV shows that filmmakers thought they had to throw in to attract the kiddie demographic. One of the worse of all time was Muffit from Battlestar Galactica. Other notables are Jar Jar Binks and even Ernie from My Three Sons.

        But otherwise “Clash of the Titians” (1981) is a great adventure story with some great (for its time) special effects. The Medusa, although crude by today’s standards, was one of the truly great animated villains on film.

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          the long line of characters in movies or TV shows that filmmakers thought they had to throw in to attract the kiddie demographic. One of the worse of all time was Muffit from Battlestar Galactica. Other notables are Jar Jar Binks and even Ernie from My Three Sons.

          Funny you should mention Ernie. There is, at this very moment, a weekend marathon of “My Three Sons” on Decades TV. My wife has found memories of the show as it was also run in Singapore back in the 1960’s, but she did not see the color years. I mentioned these coincided with the arrival of Ernie who I never liked. He was completely out of place.

          Isn’t it nice how all the TV homes of those times looked similar? “Father Knows Best”, “Leave It To Beaver”, “The Donna Reed Show”, “My Three Sons”, et. al. Maybe life was not so simple and kind, but it sure was something to aspire to.

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