Hercules

If for no other reasons than Dwayne Johnson is more charismatic than Kellan Lutz, Hercules is a better Hercules movie than The Legend of Hercules earlier in the year. Yes, two theatrical Hercules movies in the same year, one terrible and one mediocre. Johnson’s film is the latter. It’s not good and it’s not really worth seeing, but at least it won’t bore you to death or fill its running time with terrible romantic scenes with an uncharismatic lead.

Instead, it does that with a charismatic lead! I kid (kind of). Hercules (Johnson), begins this film as the leader of a mercenary group. Each of them has a special skill or preferred weapon, because you won’t want to not be able to tell them apart. One can see the future, one’s an amazon archer, one is a storyteller, and one throws knives. I wish I could remember their names, but that’s largely unimportant. They serve their roles, all the while Hercules acts as an impossibly strong guy whose various tales and legends proclaim him a demigod. “Exaggerations,” he tells his friends. Whatever. He’s still our action hero.

So, Hercules and his ragtag band of mercenaries get recruited by Lord Cotys (John Hurt), to stop someone for some reason. It’s not important, and you know that Cotys will eventually become the villain anyway. It’s all action scenes and pointless exposition anyway. Hercules kills some dudes, his team kills some more dudes, and then some nameless and faceless dudes kill some more nameless and faceless dudes. Oh, and Hercules may or may not have killed his wife, even though he has no memory of doing so.

At least the plot isn’t as simple as a straight line. There are a couple of curves and a bit of character depth for Hercules. It’s not a lot, but out of the two theatrical Hercules films of 2014, I know which one I’d prefer. Oh, and you can actually tell what’s going on during the action scenes in this one. It’s amazing what setting lots of your film during the daytime and not butchering it with bad editing can do for you.

Well, it also helps that Dwayne Johnson is infinitely more watchable on-screen than someone like Kellan Lutz. Johnson doesn’t even need to be doing anything particularly interesting and I’d rather watch him. He’s also even more believable as Hercules, if only because he’s simply a larger human being with more muscle. Demigods should look really large, right? I mean, I remember the old Hercules cartoon! That guy was huge! Actually, you should go watch that instead of either of the 2014 Hercules movies. It’ll be more fun.

What do you really expect from Hercules? It stars The Rock and was directed by Brett Ratner. Put those things together and you know more or less exactly what is going to happen. It’s busy, action-y, fast-paced, sometimes funny, and overall pretty stupid. You could probably put the concept art for this film together simply with the words “Hercules” and “Brett Ratner.” It delivers exactly what you expect, which, depending on what you want from a movie, is either good or bad. Yeah, it’s mediocre, but there are lots of people who will be entertained in spite of its mediocrity.

Can that be it? I don’t have any more to say about Hercules. It’s a mediocre action movie that’s pretty much what you would expect fro– Wait a second! Dwayne Johnson puts on an English accent for the role. We haven’t made a big deal about this, but I really feel like we should. Johnson isn’t really a deep actor — he’s been good in some dramatic roles but his strength lies in action-comedies — and the accent isn’t consistent or any good, but it’s an attempt and it’s something we should congratulate and applaud, even if it’s not a success.

Hercules is a mediocre action movie that’s pretty much what you would expect from a movie teaming up Dwayne Johnson and Brett Ratner in an adaptation of a Hercules graphic novel. It’s got lots of action, a few laughs, some strong visuals, and a charismatic lead … all serving a poor story, uninteresting characters, and a whole lot of nothing that functions as the rest of the movie. It’s mediocre, and for some people, that’s enough.

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