Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Hercules (2014)

K so earlier in the year we got a Hercules movie directed by Renny Harlin...sounds bad I know. It went for a serious historic tone with the odd added bit of mythical fantasy...and it was indeed pretty poor. Now later on down the line we have Brett Ratner's vision which basically goes for a Zack Snyder '300' tone and...errr its been directed by Brett Ratner...can you see where this is going?

The plot...the plot is the most mundane story I've come across for some time, I'm still shocked at how disappointing this was. Basically Hercules and his little band of merry men are hired by John Hurt to fight a war against some other bad guy. Hercules trains all John Hurt's men up into solid badasses and defeats the bad guy only to find out that he was fighting on the wrong side all along and John Hurt is actually the bad guy, shock horror! The movie then continues as Hercules and his plucky band of cliched action heroes defeat John Hurt...the end.

Seriously I haven't been this utterly disappointed by a movie for some time...well. I saw the trailers for this and admittedly it looked really dumb...but it also looked like a decent Conan type adventure with lots of monsters. Oh how wrong those trailers are, oh how wrong I was! There are no monsters, no hydras, no three headed wolves etc...instead the movie hints at these things only as stories, rousing tales told by Hercules nephew to boost the legend throughout the film. So basically you could also say they were stuck in to fool us too, trick us into thinking this movie might actually be of interest. At one point you think there's gonna be a big battle between Hercules with John Hurt's army and an army of centaurs...nope.

Its interesting that they look at Hercules as more of a real human in this movie, I'll give it that. The fantasy elements are hinted at and treated exactly as what they are/were...legends. Problem is Johnson isn't really good enough to pull off a semi realistic historical movie whether it be mythical or not. This guy needs fantasy because he himself is virtually a fantasy character, a superhero character, thusly this movie needed fantasy for Johnson to work within it. Without that the project crumbles, Johnson struggles and its very clear to see. So kudos for having Hercules as a regular fella with epic proportions but in this case with the lead it needed fantasy.

I think what really hurts is the fact this movie is just one big horrible formulaic CGI mess, one huge predictable cliche full of stereotypical characters we've seen over and over and more recently in a certain Peter Jackson trilogy. As said already Hercules has this little band of cutthroats that serve him...the most cliched band of characters EVER!! You have the bloke who's good with daggers or knives, the bloke who's good with a spear or staff, the crazyass lunatic who just kills anything that moves and of course the tough cocky female archer character who you can't quite decide if you fancy or not because she's no oil painting but the fact she can kick your ass excites you. Oh and John Hurt plays a grizzled old King with a dirty looking beard so no change there then.

On top of the dreadfully cliched characters the action is also dreadfully cliched and old hat too! well its no different to anything you've seen in previous sword n sandal fantasy type flicks. Dwayne Johnson looks foolish with the big fake lion skin on his head plus it looks like it will topple off at any given moment. Both the dagger/knife expert and tough female archer character appear to have infinite amounts of arrows and knives to shoot at enemies whilst the staff/spear expert played by aging British actor Ian McShane does in fact look way too old to be able to do any of the things he actually does. In short expect lots of ridiculous Peter Jackson-esque action sequences where the hero characters leap around slaying countless numbers of bad guys without breaking a sweat or running low on ammo.

To really compound the shittyness of everything Ratner also tries to make it look and feel cool by attempting some Greek Snyder Spartan military scenarios which unfortunately pale in comparison. Hell even the end credits are a complete rip off from that Spartan movie and only serve to show how poor this film actually is, a poor mans equivalent. But wait there's more! the movie doesn't even look any good either, the odd bits of CGI action are obvious, the sets are obvious, the odd CGI monster is obvious, Johnson actually looks bad as Hercules (outfit wise its totally lackluster) and his little team of misfits also look bland as hell.

One plus point was the fact they didn't shy away from showing some blood in the action, its not flowing with the stuff but the odd splatter helped. The only decent sequence in the entire movie was the battle against the...errm green skinned lizard men looking warriors. Even that turned into a farce towards the end with most of them getting mown down by two chariots (look closely and most extras are just falling down without anything happening to them, so jokey). Less said about the ending the better, totally eventless...but I liked how John Hurt's vast army support him one minute, then Hurt is killed and they all simultaneously decide to then serve Hercules the next minute...all gazillion of them.

The entire production was weak and quite frankly it isn't much better than the other movie with kellogg Lurch or whatever his name is. Yeah I knew not to expect anything that epic seeing as Dwayne Johnson was in the lead role but wow! I certainly did expect it to be better than this...some actual thrills would have been nice too.