Apparently, the legend of Judge David Johnson is more interesting than the legend of Hercules. Who knew?
Witness the rise of a god.
Director Renny Harlin saddles up for a CGI-addled deep dive into the origin of Hercules. This movie sucks so bad it will make you yearn for a Cutthroat Island reboot.
Facts of the Case
When a Greek queen has a borderline inappropriate sexual encounter with the amorphous wang of Zeus, she gives birth to a baby who grows up to be the one-and-only Hercules (Kellan Lutz, Immortals). The king (Scott Adkins, Ninja) is distrustful of this mysterious offspring and when he discovers an illicit relationship between Hercules and the princess that should be marrying Hercules' dickish older brother he takes the opportunity to exile him into the nether regions of the battlefield.
One thing leads to another and Hercules finds himself blindsided, enslaved and fighting for his life in the arena. His ultimate goal: to unleash vengeance against his nuclear family and tap into the divine power his deadbeat dad zapped into his DNA.
I am one to grant dim-bulb action movies featuring gladiators and swords a wide berth, more than willing to look past obvious potholes and wooden acting if in return I get some goopy death knells and guttural exhortations about freedom and dying with honor on the battlefield soaked in one's own urine.
But I have my limits.
The Legend of Hercules is hot garbage from start to finish, an amateurish exercise from the first batch of overwrought percussion to the final guttural Luntz howl. There is so much wrong with it, it's easy to pinpoint the good: 1) the criminally underrated Scott Adkins gets another paycheck, and 2) maybe this horror show will force Renny Harlin to bow to studio whims and release the "You Like Soccer?!" Collector's Edition of Cliffhanger.
The bad? Well…
The action is terrible.
Hercules is a bore.
Not that it matters, because no one cares about a Hercules origin
I think the biggest misstep is taking the origin angle. While it might work for Superman or Iron Man, Hercules just doesn't have that pop cultural cachet, and why deprive of us of bad-ass demigod powers for 80 minutes? Not that they're particularly awesome when they do drop, made up of Hercules swinging around some CGI stone blocks on the edge of chains—in slow-motion of course.
Hey, it's not all bad! Summit's The Legend of Hercules 3D (Blu-ray) is actually quite a looker, sporting a stunning 2.40:1/1080p HD transfer that makes the computer generated effects look a lot better than they have any business being (side note: if 3D is your bag, Harlin makes sure to throw plenty of debris your way). A generic score and the usual bombast accompanies the tight visuals, rendered in a clean, appreciated 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix. Extras: commentary by Lutz and Harlin, a making-of documentary, digital copy, and UltraViolet download.
Save us Dwayne Johnson. You're our only hope.
Guilty. Return this turd to Olympus.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Summit Entertainment
• 2D Version
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