The Legend of Hercules: Blu-Ray Review (Mania.com)
Review Date: Saturday, May 10, 2014
Slaying the Lernaean Hydra? Cleaning the Augean Stables? Capturing Cerberus the three-headed guardian of the underworld? Those are mere child’s play compared to the labor of sitting through the Legend of Hercules. Lou Ferrigno can now breathe easy in the knowledge that he is no longer the star of the worst Hercules movie ever made. Considering films like this, the Clash of the Titans remake and its sequel, and the 2011 film “Immortals”, the Greek people may regret ever recording their mythology.
Queen Alcmene, wife of the tyrant King Amphitryon (Adkins) prays to the Goddess Hera for aid. Hera appears to her and tells her she will bear the son of Zeus and he will be the savior of her people. Cut ahead 20 years later and Hercules (Lutz), named Alcides by the King who knows he is not his son, is now a young, powerful man. His older brother Iphicles constantly berates him and even takes full credit for killing the Nemean Lion in a CGI created sequence that makes the average Syfy network film seem cutting edge by comparison.
Hercules and Iphicles are both in love with the same woman so his father gets rid of the competition by sending Hercules off to a military campaign in Egypt. Hercules is joined by his friend, Captain Sotiris (Liam McIntyre of Spartacus). Their troops are ambushed leaving only Hercules and Sotiris alive as they are captured by Tarak (Schaech) leader of the Hoplites. Tarak sells the pair into slavery where they are forced to fight for their lives in the gladiatorial arena. The pair wins their freedom and return home where Hercules must finally embrace his true lineage as the son of Zeus to gain his full powers to defeat the army of his father.
For star Kellen Lutz, he must likely be thinking he never wants to hear anything about Greek Mythology again as he has the misfortune of not only starring in this film, but also in Immortals. Lutz at least looks the role but that’s never been much of an issue with Hercules films, even going back to the Italian-made sword and sandal epics of the 1960s. Lutz finds himself lost when he has to carry the action himself. Fortunately McIntyre helps him out a good deal although I am sure he wishes he had retired his sword after Spartacus ended. And for the record, Hoplites were NOT Egyptian soldiers but another faction of Greek soldiers but I hardly think historical accuracy entered the equation at any point during this film.
Despite the many battles in the film its PG-13 rating renders it nearly bloodless to the point of absurdity. The gladiatorial fights are particularly tame and thus laughable despite Director Renny Harlin’s over usage of the “300” style of super slow-motion action. One wonders where the $70 million budget went as the visual effects and cinematography are equally horrible. Four different people are credited with writing the film and you can only assume that they did so independently without seeing what any of the others wrote due the disjointed narrative.
For Harlin, who once upon a time made a couple of decent films (Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, Deep Blue Sea) it is another low point in his career which seemed like it could get no worse after the horrible “Exorcist: The Beginning” in 2004.
Audio Commentery with Directory Renny Harlin and Kellen Lutz
The Making of the Legend of Hercules (14:30) – A Standard “making of” film that takes a look at stunts, visual effects, and includes interviews with the cast. Humorously, Harlin tries to cut himself a piece of the superhero pie that is enjoying such a wave of popularity by saying that Hercules was the basis for all superheroes today.
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Mania Grade: D
Starring: Kellan Lutz, Gaia Weiss, Scott Adkins, Liam McIntyre, Johnathon Schaech
Written By: Daniel Giat, Giulio Steve, Renny Harlin, Sean Hood
Directed By: Renny Harlin
Original Year of Release: 2014
Distributor: Summit Entertainment
Special Features: See Below