Hercules (2014)

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“I’m just a mercenary, looking for gold.”

If gold was what this movie was looking for, it went searching in all of the wrong places. Hercules doesn’t even find a rusty old piece of scrap metal. I rarely use anything more than strongly dislike, but man did I hate this movie. It has no brains, tells a story that doesn’t do the title character justice, and is dreadful to look at. I’ve never been a fan of director Brett Ratner. He’s always seemed to be a playboy version of Michael Bay, constantly going for style over subtance. This is by far his worst movie to date. In terms of making bad films, this is a Herculean feat.

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This revisionist take on the character sets him at his origin. Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) is trying to finish his 12 labors, for whatever reason, and avenge the death of his family. In literally ten seconds we see him go from a little boy to a gargantuan man. He’s a mercenary with a gang of help, none of whom are memorable enough to mention here. The only worthwhile sidekick is played by Ian McShane, but I can’t recall the character’s name, or any of the rest. At least one is another heroine with a bow and arrow…go figure. Hercules is somehow persuaded by Lord Cotys (John Hurt) into defending the kingdom of Thrace from an evil foe. Everything gets messy from that point on, trying to pull drama from an untapped borehole of a story.

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The movie tries to engage us with battle upon battle, only giving us the location name and nothing more. Most of the fights just seem to be included for the aesthetics’ sake. The script is the source of every problem that comes from this movie. It’s entirely wrong. We don’t care about Hercules being a mercenary feigning to be ordinary and lay low. We want to see his 12 labors, to see how his strength and ingenuity minimalize everything around him. It’s hard to care about a movie that doesn’t care about itself. This could’ve been entertaining had the right story been told.

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Dwayne Johnson is the only person to play this character, at least in live action. The physicality he brings and sheer dedication put into looking the way he does in this is unbelievable. However, his acting never matches up and proves to be a lackluster role compared to the rest of his starring turns. His accent constantly changes (notice the rest of the cast too…everyone is different) and so much time is spent brooding that you start to disengage from him. Hercules is the overbearing star of his own movie, and is the only character given a shred of detail or background, and that’s speaking in the lightest of terms.

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You’d never guess this movie cost $100 million to make. It looks awful. The graphics are subpar, the cheap costumes actually look like plastic, and some sets seem straight out of a dated high school prom setup. A battle is supposed to be against centaurs, and SPOILER ALERT, it’s not. They’re just men on horses. One charges towards Hercules and is literally thrown in the air, man and horse, a far distance away. That’s when Herc delivers one of the worst lines in recent memory…it’ll be shown below. I take notes when I review movies so I can remember details. After looking at what I wrote down, the most standout point I found was, “movie is soooo bad.” This film was damned by the Gods.

“F***ing centaurs.”

Rating: 0.5 out of 5

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