REVIEW: THE LEGEND OF HERCULES / CERT: 12A / DIRECTOR: RENNY HARLIN / SCREENPLAY: DANIEL GIAT, GIULIO STEVE, RENNY HARLIN, SEAN HOOD / STARRING: KELLEN LUTZ, GAIA WEISS, SCOTT ADKINS, ROXANNE MCKEE, LIAM GARRIGAN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Some films just have to be seen on the big screen. They are made for the experience of movie-going; the scent of popcorn wafting through the auditorium, the speakers thumping against the walls, the hushed tones of anticipation that fill the stadium with that palpable sense of excitement.
And some films are best enjoyed in the comfort of your own home. With you and your closest friends snuggled around the screen, enacting your own pace, laughing without regard and providing your own commentary.
And then there are some films that should just not be viewed in any capacity.
The Legend of Hercules is one of those films.
Director Renny Harlin seems to have bought into the prevailing theory that he cannot direct himself out of an IKEA – which is a shame since Die Hard 2 and The Long Kiss Goodnight are both quality action romps. Harlin now seems adamant to wipe out any good graces the former allowed him with his vision for Hercules, which is perhaps the perfect storm of bad movies.
Getting past the fact that the film offers absolutely nothing new in terms of artistic or technical achievement, it commits the cardinal sin of muddying its allegories, painting Hercules as both a vigilante and a Christ-like redeemer.
After a fairly guttural opening, which introduces the audience in a sweeping manner to the ransacking of Argos, it takes an absolutely spectacular nosedive. The depiction of the Virgin Birth aside, which is hilarious if you’ve ever wondered how Joseph would have reacted walking in on Mary being pleasured in the bedroom by a faceless entity, the film’s first act plods along for what seems like hours. The battle with the Nemean Lion, which in the mythology is the First Labour of Hercules, is casually tossed into a rather confusing set-piece - though you could be forgiven for asking why Hercules is wrestling a ginormous Furby.
And so the film wanders aimlessly from point to point for a distressingly long time. Much like the years following the release of The Matrix, where every other tent pole summer film had a not-so-great bullet time sequence, The Legend of Hercules seems intent on ransacking anything remotely original that has come before it.
Kellen Lutz leads the way as the Grecian Demigod, and proves himself capable of being immortalised in a Twilight standee and not much else. He attempts to channel Russell Crowe, much like the whole films does, but it unfortunately has a lot more in common with Showtime’s Spartacus than it does with anything remotely professional.
You could be forgiven for thinking that The Legend of Hercules might be a fun, throwaway piece of entertainment. But you’d be wrong. Not only does the film last around 45 minutes (once you remove the insanely decadent amount of slow-mo), it makes the unforgiveable error of employing a creative team without a lick of a creative voice.
Then again, if you didn’t get enough nipple action from 300: Rise of an Empire, or have recently suffered some sort of brain injury, then this might just be the movie for you.
Expected Rating: 6 out of 10