‘Hercules’ proves the adage ‘everything old is new again’.  Representing the ‘sword and sandal’ epics proliferating cinemas in the 1950’s, ‘Hercules’ arrives with its umpteenth cinematic adventure.  With a public eager for anything resembling the current popular TV hit ‘Game of Thrones’, its arrival is opportune.  Unfortunately it’s directed by Brett Ratner, a helmer of infamous cinematic disasters even Hercules would find impossible to survive.


The powerful son of Zeus, Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) hires himself out as a sword for hire.  Roaming the land searching for new horizons, his services soon become needed.  The King of Thrace (John Hurt) enlists his help in defeating a wicked warlord. Needing all the strength he can muster, Hercules aims to crush his enemies and be rid of any evil darkening his world.


From its’ opening moments ‘Hercules’ revels in its opulent grandeur.  Looking as spectacular as you’d expect, it successfully brings Hercules’ world to life.  Aiding this are the many action sequences which are dazzlingly staged.  For every grunting, roaring and sweating moment though there’s a downside.  As the movie grinds on it becomes a repetitive menagerie of sword fights and bad plotting.  Inexplicably ignoring Hercules’ rich mythology, the original story feels as generic as similar recent films.


Johnson does his best to rise above the plot mediocrity.  Whilst he isn’t the world’s greatest actor, he looks good while flexing his chiselled physique.  It seems that’s all that’s needed for this version of Hercules as Ratner’s direction shows little flair or imagination.  As the person responsible for nearly killing off the X-Men franchise with ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’, his reputation precedes him.  ‘Hercules’ doesn’t do him any favours with his usual mix of action and silly humour failing to register much interest.


Although it had potential to be great, ‘Hercules’ ultimately plays like a dumb action flick.  It’s a predictable yarn with CGI and muscled torsos doing most of the work.  No thinking is required while viewing with its brevity its only truly redeeming feature.


Rating out of 10:  4

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