Dwayne Johnson is Hercules

Hercules

BY STEVEN PANZARELLA(@PROCREATESTEVE)

The Short- Thanks to appropriate casting and fun action sequences Hercules is a real summer popcorn flick. It could have been more if not for unimaginative direction and dull writing. Dwayne Johnson embodies the character and along with Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell and the rest of his merry band of warriors are worth the price of admission.

 I may include little spoilers in my review so if you have yet to see the film then check out the short review and read the rest after.

Most casting decisions in Hollywood these days are pulled apart surgically thanks to the internet. So a while ago when a Hercules Movie was announced (Back then it was Hercules: The Thracian War) and Dwayne Johnson was announced in as the lead it may have said something that almost no one reacted. If they did react it was "Well that makes a lot of sense", and it does because it is rare that someone fits the physical mold of a super hero/Greek god in the same way the former world champ does. It's a perfect fit, and Johnson takes on the role in all his brooding glory. In a lot of ways I really enjoyed Hercules fully, I loved how there are two worlds in the movie, the first is the wonderfully imaginative tall tales of dragons, lions, etc. that follow Hercules. Stories of his triumphs over dozens of opponents, revealed as stories being told to make enemies shiver in their boots and not reality. It's a nice mix of the wonder of our imaginations vs. the harsh reality of our hero as nothing more than a mercenary killing for gold. He is joined by his merry band of mercenaries, the oracle Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), good with knives and sharp tongued Autolycus(Rufus Sewell), mute swordsman Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), and clinical with a bow and arrow Atalanta(Ingrid Bolso Berdal). When we finally meet our group they are saving final member Iolaus (Reece Ritchie) from pirates, Iolaus is the story teller, and the nephew of Hercules. Following there victory thanks in large part to the group’s ability to make Hercules look like a one man wrecking crew they move on to find the next payday, the one that our hero says will be his last. He is approached by Ergenia, whose father Lord Cotys(John Hurt) is fighting a devastating war against a mythical villain. They promise Hercules his weight in gold to train the army, fight, and win the war and this is how Brett Ratner’s Hercules begins.

It's safe to say the best part of Hercules is the cast, Johnson embodies the character, McShane, Sewell, Berdal and Ritchie all mesh very well together and within the story each character gets a moment but none are given more than that considering they are just players in the story of our half god. John Hurt fits the role of Lord Cotys especially as his character develops towards the films second half. Hurt plays a good guy very well, but Cotys is a little sketchy in that regard and Hurt does that well too(He also plays an awesome villain) oh what the hell John Hurt is fantastic no matter what.  The Interactions between Johnson, McShane, and Sewell are the film’s most memorable while Ingrid Bolso Berdal's badass Atalanta is lockstep with Johnson as far as physical action scenes go. She is underestimated a number of times throughout the film and does a great job of kicking serious ass. I don’t think anyone doubted the action scenes would be incredible it helps that the dialogue between characters is raised up by each actor and the group’s chemistry is actually fairly decent.

Dwayne Johnson looking fierce in Hercules

 

The trouble with Brett Ratner's Hercules is he has this story and he finds a clever way of telling it but scenes within the plot lack imagination, alliances are tested, blah, blah, blah. A clever first half devolves into a finale that has some fun dialogue, fun action scenes but unlike the films first act lacks any creative conviction. It was the easy way out. It's a lack of creativity that you can smell from a mile away, luckily for Ratner and company Johnson is such a physical presence that the film is still an incredibly fun movie to  watch.

 

Hercules is an action packed, perfect summer blockbuster that may not get too deep is still a very exciting watch and allows Hollywood’s biggest action hero to flex his muscles in a role he was born to play. Watching Dwayne Johnson as Hercules is worth your money no matter the finished product.

Grade- B

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Steven Panzarella: ProCreate Film Critic

Steven Panzarella has been reviewing movies for as long as he can remember, but his passion flourished while working at 88.7 FM WRHU, and writing for popgoestheweek.com.

Steven is ProCreate's resident film critic.

@ProCreateSteve


Cast and Crew

Hercules

Paramount Pictures

Directed by Brett Ratner

Written by Ryan Condal, Evan Spiliotopoulos

Starring- Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Aksel Hennie, Peter Mullan, Rebecca Ferguson, Joseph Fiennes, and Reece Ritchie.

Runtime- 1 hr 38min

Rated- PG-13

Grade-B


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