Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson takes on the mantle of Hercules but does he lay the smack down in this actioner?
Built like a freight train with a WWE career to match, it’s a no brainer why Dwayne Johnson was cast as the Greek god Hercules. But this isn’t Hercules of Greek mythology (well not quite anyway) but the character based on the Radical Comic series by Steve Moore.
So what we ultimately have before us is The Rock in a loin cloth basically laying the smack down on the baddies in an epic display of badassery. And he’s got a few mates along for the ride too, all of whom with distinctive warrior talents of their own. But, the downfall to this outing though, thanks to films like Gladiator and 300, is that we’ve seen most of it before…
The Story: The story opens with a narrative on Hercules and his many battles but soon the film reveals that this isn’t the Hercules that we are led to believe. He’s actually a mercenary who with his five companions journey through Greece selling their services for gold and using his legendary reputation to intimidate enemies. But when the benevolent ruler of Thrace and his daughter seek Hercules’ help to defeat a savage and terrifying warlord, the warrior finds that in order for good to triumph and justice to prevail he must embrace his own myth in order to save the day.
What Worked: The spin on the legend of Hercules, which delivers a swerve to the audience who were largely expecting to see Herc battle monstrous beasties. And the sidestepping of its storyline seems to the overall theme of the film too as it delivers more than a couple of curveballs throughout the movie to keep audiences on its toes.
What Didn’t: Hercules not battling monstrous beasties. Face, it the trailer alone hinted that he would be fighting Hydras, a monstrous Lion and Wild Boar, but unfortunately what you saw in the trailer is all the footage you’ll see in this film.
Minus Points: The ‘reality’ aspect of the film that Brett Ratner tries hard to instil – Hercules not being a Greek God but merely a man of immense strength that discovers his true measure during the epic finale. We would have preferred the latter to be honest.
Conclusion: Hercules delivers a different spin on the legend and on some levels it does work but the reluctant hero who ultimately overcomes the odds after believing in himself is a road that’s been taken a bit too often. We smell what The Rock was cooking in this actioner but sadly, it smelt all too familiar.