Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Legend of Hercules, Not Really.

The film The Legend of Hercules is the kind of movie where I wonder why they used the name Hercules at all. In one way it is an okay action movie, if you can overlook the dull parts and a number of cliché scenes that would be more in place in a far less expensive movie production.

What I can say, without giving away any of the plot is that if you search for the myth of Hercules on the internet then you won’t learn any of the storyline of this particular film. The filmmakers seemed to have decided to completely abandon the myth and just use the name Hercules, along with the names of some of the other characters in the myth. In watching the film, I was reminded of two main areas of filmmaking of the past.

One is the Italian ‘Sword and Sandal” films, where sometimes fancy clothes and hairdos were more important than the story. In fact, some of the storytelling in this film very much borders on the style of the Sword and Sandal films.   

The other is the endlessly repeated message in American made films from the mid-twentieth century onwards, in which each Roman epic states that tyranny is wrong – a less than subtle barb at fascism, communism, and any nation seen as being of either ilk. This approach of tyranny versus democracy can still work in a film, as shown in the hit film 300 (whilst ignoring the fact that Spartans were tyrants who conquered and enslaved other people) – but only if it is handled correctly and not lathered in a bath of frothy clichés the way this Hercules film tends to do.

If all you expect from an action movie is cliché characters and occasional stylish slow motion fighting, then see this film. If you are looking for something more than that, choose something else.