Genre: Action and Adventure
Director: Renny Harlin
Cast: Kellan Lutz, Scott Adkins, Liam McIntyre, Gaia Weiss
Release Date: January 10th, 2014
Early on in the new feature The Legend of Hercules, price
the naïve Queen Alcmene (Roxanne McKee) that the man she married is no longer the hero he once was. Living in ancient Greece where kingdoms were often handed to the victor of the most recent battle, malady
her husband King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins) has reached the apogee of power but brutally wants more and is willing to conquer— or kill— anyone or any people he believes threatens his quest for dominance. Alcmene, in all her righteousness, pleads to the gods for help and is eventually impregnated (in a bizarre scene of winds and bed linings) by the god Zeus. Her child— set to be named Hercules— is to bring peace to Greece when he gets older.
Hercules (Kellan Lutz) grows up to become a well-built but incredibly boring soldier and Lutz, known as Emmett Cullen for fans of the Twilight series, offers little in bringing the character to life. Hercules eventually falls in love with the equally uncharismatic Hebe (Gaia Weiss) but the king, who knows that he didn’t father Hercules, sends the main character off to battle while presenting Iphicles (Liam Garrigan), the King’s real son and heir to the throne, as Hebe’s husband-to-be.
The relationship between the two brothers could have served as one of the feature’s highlights as it does in the Thor films with the psychotic charisma of Loki matching wits with his even-keeled and masculine brother, Thor. Instead, the lifeless lead character here is matched with an equally-lifeless brother, who spouts like a child and acts like a fool. The fraternal relationship here is so mundane and unbelievable that it’s hard to believe that these two characters even know one another, let alone are siblings.
Aside from that, the lazy plot doesn’t do the actors any favors. The writing credit for the feature is given to Daniel Giat, Renny Harlin, Sean Hood and Giulio Steve— but all of the plot twists are so predictable— Hercules is feared dead but is really alive!— that it’s hard to find anything here that would surprise viewers. In this drama, we simply have archetypes battling it out for power.
The repentant queen. The antagonistic king. The lowly brother. The strong hero. Nothing that we haven’t seen before but now in slow motion! In the absence of a compelling plot, director Renny Harlin (Deep Blue Sea) packs the pre-packaged plot with slo-mos, featuring Hercules battling in slower motion than you thought possible. The audience inevitably knows that the hero is going to win most— if not all— of the battles so it feels like these scenes are supposed to show the audience how cool the action scenes are. They aren’t cool or compelling.
At ninety-nine minutes, The Legend of Hercules is watchable enough, especially when Liam McIntyre is onscreen as Sotiris, Hercules’ honorable ally. But it’s not a movie you watch for the entertainment of it. It’s one you watch hoping that it gets better but it never does.
This Legend of Hercules could have been better titled The Letdown of Hercules or better yet The Lesson of Hercules, which would inevitably be that your money is better spent elsewhere.
Review by: John Hanlon