Tuesday, 29 April 2014

The Legend of Hercules (2014)

The film formerly known as 'Hercules: The Legend Begins' which scarily makes you think there might be sequels in a possible beefcake franchise. Aaaaaand also even more scarily known at one time as 'Hercules 3D' which not only makes me shudder at the thought of how ridiculous a gimmick that would be, but the fact they would probably make 3D sequels too, brrrrrr! me blood runs cold at the thought of it.

So round one, lets see if this Hercules film can...oh it can't. So in ancient Greece Yuri Boyka...aka Scott Adkins, the man who makes pure straight to DVD films for a career, is the baddie King Amphitryon. This guy is apparently running things badly and no one likes him, the film shows none of this but we are made to believe it because he shouts and growls a lot. He's gonna marry off Hebe the Princess to his slimy son Iphicles, problem is Hebe is in love with mighty Hercules played by...Kellan Lurch? Putz? Yutz?, this makes them both rather upset. So in typical Romeo and Juliet style they try to escape together, get caught, and Hercules is banished to fight in Egypt. Naturally this is all a ruse by the naughty King to try and kill off Hercules because he has also been foreseen to bring down his kingdom.

Now I don't really know the full ins and outs of ancient Greece as its extremely complicated, but I'm pretty sure this film is not historically accurate. I take a wild swing with this statement as King Galenus at the start of the film who is killed by Amphitryon was actually a Greek physician and philosopher, unless they just used the name. Also Hebe was the daughter of Zeus and Hera which I don't believe is used here, but anyway you wouldn't use this film for a history lesson.

If this were a TV movie then I'd be a bit more positive here, the fact its a big budget flick directed by Renny Harlin is a bit embarrassing really. By the chariots of Zeus! the visuals are drab, really drab!, its unbelievably poor looking in every aspect. The costumes are bland and lifeless, but I guess the excuse there could be its a more realistic take. Lots of bad greenscreen, the few real locations used are unexciting whilst most other landscapes we see are CGI and the sets are so darkly lit my guess is that its to hide the fact they look like foam and rubber. Most of the film uses CGI to make up the backgrounds foregrounds...everything! and its obvious, hell the CGI looks like it was done ten years ago.



The first bit of action that really nailed home how poor this all was was the sequence where Hercules fights the lion. Holy Mufasa! this sequence looks terrible, the lion must be a joke right? isn't it? how big was this budget?. The acting in this film is laughable it really is, putting the constant growling and gnashing teeth of Adkins aside, it feels like you're watching a sci-fi B-movie from the 50's. No disrespect to those classics but in this day and age you come to expect a bit more for a major release...don't you?!!.

There is very little action in the film which doesn't really help its case, especially when the acting realism and visuals are so bad. What action we do get is done in the most horrendously pointless needless and shameless rip off from the '300' franchise ever to grace the cinema screen thus far methinks. It wouldn't be so bad if it actually looked half as good, or if it was even necessary, but it just feels so futile, so totally meaningless and clearly done just to try and make everything appear more thrilling because otherwise it would be lame. Blatant leeching off another films concept.

The other thing is I don't know what this film wants to be, a serious historical epic? a bloody sword n sandals action flick? a drama? a fantasy? what?!. There are hints of a blood soaked action flick but it never materialises, it just cuts away at every crucial moment, there is no blood or gore at all really...so maybe its for the family?. The gladiatorial battles are laughable bad with cliched corny choreography and characters, the six undefeated warriors were pathetic and frankly I'm unsure how they became undefeated. One of the warriors was even a woman! women weren't really seen in the arenas, especially with the male gladiators, it didn't happen, but naturally Hercules doesn't kill her pfft! wuss.

Love the short sequence just before the battle with the six warriors. Chiron and Hercules mate Sotiris reach the arena and look down on it from this massive cliff. They must be a gazillion feet above this arena in one shot...but by the pecs of Lutz! in the next shot they're in the arena just in time to watch Hercules do his thing!. They don't even look tired or sweaty!, that's some ancient Greek magic right there. Oh did I forget to mention that these arena battles are set up by a character who is clearly a rip off from Oliver Reed's character in 'Gladiator', the guy even looks the same with his facial hair and costume, is there a lawyer in the house?.

This film is such a mess it really is, most of the time it comes across as a lifeless dull drama with little bits of tame bloodless '300' wannabe style action. But out of the blue we get a couple outrageous sequences of fantasy involving Hercules using two massive boulders on chains like nunchakus in true Marvel style. And then a sequence where he summons the power of Greyskull and proceeds to kill hundreds of warriors using a lighting empowered sword...wut?!. After all that its back to being a dull plot hole ridden drama/historical epic/'300'/'Spartacus'/'Gladiator' wannabe cash cow franchise (well that ain't happening anymore).

4/10