REVIEW: Hercules (2014) – ManlyMovie

REVIEW: Hercules (2014)


Runtime: 98 Mins
Rated: PG-13
What To Expect: Inoffensive yarn that quite frankly should’ve been worse

Sword and sandals time here, a go-to manly movie genre.  This is the second Hercules movie to see a release this year.  The first was The Legend Of Hercules, directed by Renny Harlin (Cliffhanger and Die Hard 2) and starring Scott Adkins.  But I wouldn’t recommend that movie.  Come to think of it, I wouldn’t recommend this one, directed by Brett Ratner (Tower Heist) and starring The Rock, either.  The first movie was savaged by critics and this one was supposed to be the one to hold out for.  The truth is it isn’t much better, but not a bad movie in its own right, just by the numbers in all senses.

We get the usual old yarn of Hercules (The Rock), son of Zeus, being born half man, half God.  In this version, Hercules becomes a mercenary who trains greenhorn armies.  Cotys, King of Thrace (John Hurt) has one such problem – he has men who can’t fight and calls in Hercules (and his pals) to teach them how to lay the Smackdown.  If you make it into the third act though, treachery is afoot.  This is all very average stuff with no flare or originality.

In fact the whole movie is a picture of mediocrity that doesn’t push any boundaries whatsoever.  It’s very innocuous and doesn’t dare take any chances.  This is a PG-13 movie, so they make sure to keep things very family friendly, which means keeping things jovial and upbeat.  Even John Hurt and Ian McShane, the best things about the movie, keep tongues firmly planted in cheek.  That said, it was always supposed to be this way and doesn’t make it a bad movie, but it kills its potential of being a good movie.  But really that shouldn’t have stopped them from playing up the fantasy aspects, the “fucking centaurs” (the one F-bomb in there) were one stong point of the movie, only to… not be (no spoilers).

Another thing is that this is from the director of Beverly Hills Cop IV, Brett Ratner.  One positive to take away from this is that his action scenes are fairly solid.  Not a shaking cam in sight, when something happens, you can see how it happened and to whom.  But overall, although I expected far worse, average to the bone.  Got kids? They’ll probably enjoy this and it won’t put you to sleep in the process.