Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
Brett Ratner certainly has some credit to his name for directing Box Office Hits like Rush Hour, Red Dragon, and 21. With much controversy surrounding his helming of The X-Men: The Last Stand, it would appear the pressure of the Blockbuster World is on his shoulders. His latest effort, the at times lagging Hercules, manages to be redeemed by a few hearty laughs.
This new telling of our Hero Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) is about the Man perceived as the Son of Zeus, who was able to defeat all twelve tasks put in his way, by killing a lion with his bare hands, by defeating the Hydra, and so forth. He technically speaking, is a god amongst men, who acts as a mercenary for hire to help villages defeat their enemies. This is where Hercules and his Band of Misfits containing Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), Atalanta (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) and Hercules nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchie) work together to help Lord Cotys (John Hurt) defeat the evil supposed Minotaur Rhesus (Tobias Santelmann).
A lack of Character Development plagues Hercules – the exception of course, being the Hero himself – and despite delivering a fresh take on a celebrated Story, not much new is brought to the table here. On a personal note, 1997’s Animated Feature still resigns supreme among other Adaptations. An inevitable plot twist here however does deliver an oasys of powerful action, quenching the thirst of an action-craving Audience. The Comedy, whether it be intentional or not, admittedly is uplifting.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson has proven time and again his Acting Chops. The Scorpion King more notably launched his career as he did other Films such as The Rundown, Walking Tall, Be Cool, Doom, The Game Plan and so forth. However, like his final Wrestlemania match, as a Fan myself I can’t help but feel underwhelmed. Similar can be said about the brilliant John Hurt. Ultimately it is Johnson‘s natural charisma and comedic sense which wind-up being Hercules’ greatest strengths, saving it from a fall into the realm of Hades.
Paramount Pictures Canada release Hercules on Friday, July 25, 2014.