Definitely Not Strong – Hercules (2014)

Not worth the time.  So this is about the half-mortal half-god Hercules (Dwayne Johnson), building his own legend in ancient times.  Now you may think that you’re having déjà vu, but no, it was the hilariously bad Legend of Hercules that already got released earlier in the year.  It’s always  interesting to see twin movies with the same premise race each other to see who can get their film out their first, like in 1997 when you had Dante’s Peak and Volcano, in 1998 with A Bug’s Life and Antz or in 2006 with the Prestige and the Illusionist.  This is another one of those times.

fryNot sure if it’s corporate espionage or just the death of original ideas.

Now let me start off with the good, because it will take far less time than going over the bad.  There are a couple of cool core concepts if you look hard enough; in the thick of the action, there were occasional moments that I said to myself, “well, at least that was cool.”  Also, I did appreciate a couple of the side characters in Hercules’ posse that had some personality; veteran actors like Ian McShane and Rufus Sewell really kept me going through this.  I also like the idea on paper of the legend behind the hero being a pack a lies, and I could really get behind this if it weren’t so bloody dull and uninteresting.  This was advertised as it being Hercules completing the twelve labors, and I’m fine with them going in a different direction, but this is so aimless that I really struggled with keeping my attention focused, as I really had to make a conscientious effort to keep my eyes from glazing over.  This really could have benefited from a few extra rewrites or a director who could have kept things more focused, and Brett Ratner probably isn’t the best person for the job.

Brett-RatnerWhile I don’t have any personal stakes in the matter, I can completely understand all the hatred out there for this man.

Now I love Dwayne Johnson, as the man is just walking charisma.  The whole entire runtime, he has this look on his face that you can totally tell that he is well-aware that he’s in some shit.  Looking at his library, I would rather watch any of his other movies over this one, with the possible exception of Planet 51 (which wasn’t his fault); yes, I would rather watch the Tooth Fairy more than this.

herculesAnd you know that is saying something.

This is an unfocused mess that is slapdash and schlocky at every turn.  I would honestly rather watch the aforementioned Legend of Hercules, because at least that had some unintentional comedy.  That said, this is just not the year for Hercules, and you know what they say: If it looks like bullshit and smells like bullshit, it’s probably bullshit.

Hercules (2014) *1/2

– Critic for Hire


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