Movie Review

Film Review: THE LEGEND OF HERCULES (2014): An Epic, January Dump Dud

Kellan Lutz Gaia Weiss The Legend of Hercules

The Legend Of Hercules (2014) Film Review, a movie directed by Renny Harlin and starring Kellan Lutz, Gaia Weiss, Scott Adkins, Roxanne McKee, Liam Garrigan, Liam McIntyre, Rade Serbedzija, Johnathon Schaech, and Luke Newberry.

The month of January is a notorious dumping ground for forgettable and lackluster films. This has never been more apparent than with the latest film to fall victim to the January release date curse. The Legend Of Hercules is the first of two installments about the Greek demi-god hitting theaters this year.

Kellen Lutz stars in this clunky adaptation of the epic origin story of Greek demi-god Hercules. The film is epic all right; epic in its failures and short-comings. The Legend of Hercules is painful to watch and sorely disappointing. Were we expecting better from the same director who brought us *cough* Cut Throat Island or an actor whose major acting credit is The Twilight Saga?

What I find so disappointing is the absolute lack of authenticity found anywhere in this film. The Legend of Hercules is a visual knockoff of 300 while stealing (er, borrowing) its narrative from Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. Funny, I wasn’t aware that the legendary Greek hero’s origin parallels that of Maximus until now.

The Legend of Hercules is far from a loyal interpretation of the original source material; scrapping fantastical beasts and the 12 labors of Hercules commonly found in other adaptions of the son of Zeus, and choosing instead to copy and paste the adventures of Gladiator and 300 in the hopes of banking on the success of those films.

Disney managed to show Hercules take on all 12 labors in a single 2 minute song, but this version can’t be bothered to attempt even one in an entire movie?  The film appears to have nothing in common with the mythic Greek hero except in name.

The unimaginative and predictable plot seems to only serve as filler until the next fight sequence can take place.

Initially, the fight sequences look promising and well executed, but that is short lived as the film progresses. Wait, didn’t we already watch this? The film rehashes 300’s stylistic freeze-frame shots and it is evident after the first scrimmage; every fight to follow will have the same rinse and repeat formula making the bulk of the action stale and repetitive.

The Legend of Hercules attempts to compensate for poor storytelling by being aesthetically compelling and gritty, but the CGI looks distractingly cheap. At best the CGI looks like a high-end video game. You’d think with the budget for a full length feature they could spring for better graphics than the special effects found in most made-for-television or straight-to-DVD releases.

The dialogue in The Legend of Hercules is laughable; peppered with modern slang, and a variety of accents that disrupt continuity and fail to suspend disbelief (the same fault that plagued Wolfgang Petersen‘s Troy). With the exception of Liam McIntyre, the entire ensemble is miscast and fails to deliver any line with believability and authority. With most of the cast members, especially Lutz, just reciting lines, the audience is painfully aware they are watching a movie.

Actor Liam McIntyre provides a welcome breath of fresh air to this insipid production. A relative newcomer to the silver screen, McIntyre, who plays Spartacus on StarzSpartacus: War of the Damned, gives by far the most refreshingly genuine performance of the film.

Compared to the 1997 animated feature by Disney, this take on the hero is hardly worth the time. I recommend you save yourself a few bucks, skip this one, and watch Disney’s Hercules instead. I promise it will be far more entertaining and a surprisingly more accurate representation of the Greek demi-god.

Rating: 3/10

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Malinda Money

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