The Legend of Hercules
By Justin Jasso (@jjasso007)
In the past, stories were created to provide reasoning for the way things were in the world. Gods made the sun rise and fall, thunder and lightning may be from anger by the Gods, rivers were straight when someone pulled them that way. Stories were also created regarding people, with some being demi-Gods or mythical beings taken human form to interact with humans. One of these such stories is that of Hercules, the son of Zeus, born to a human woman and made to take on 12 labours. But how did Hercules come to be and what were his early years like? Director Renny Harlin brings this part of Hercule’s story to the big screen in The Legend of Hercules.
Queen Alcmene (Roxanne McKee), married to the tyrant, King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), providing him with a son. But she longs for someone to stop her husband, to which Hera promises that Zeus will give her a son. Bring on Hercules (Kellan Lutz). Hercules grows to surpass his brother in repoire, prompting his father to send him to war, where he’s captured and sold into slavery as a Gladiator. It’s up to Hercules to fight his way to the top, return to Greece, and reclaim his love and stop his father and brother.
Watching the Legend of Hercules is like watching a mash-up of other good, inventive shows and movies. When it comes to fight sequences, it looks like they were taken right out of 300. You have the normal action interspersed with the high frame rate, extra slow motion sequences. When it comes to the gladiatorial battles, one is brought back to the Starz TV show, Spartacus. In particular, when you look at individual fighting styles, you feel as if you’re watching Troy again. Yet the spectacles that the aforementioned films were, The Legend of Hercules does not bring any of that fervor to the screen.
What seems like an interesting premise is drudged down by poor acting, uninspired story and a poor script. The only “known” actor in the film is Kellen Lutz, known for his turn in the Twilight series. Not that a cast of relatively unknowns is a bad thing. It has proven to be successful in films such as The Hangover, Spartacus, Bridesmaids (although some people were known), among other films. However, in The Legend of Hercules, the acting feels uninspired. Part of that may be due to the poorly written script, but much of the times it feels as if the actors are telling us the lines instead of living in the moment and portraying the story for the first time. With Lutz, he was given the opportunity to be the lead in a film but was unable to deliver. Though he was physically able to adapt to the part, that which makes a role genuine was missing. There was a lack of emotion found in scenes with Hercules and his mother as well as with his love. At a time when you’re given the opportunity to shine, the performance was dull.
It’s hard to find many redeeming aspects for The Legend of Hercules. Scott Adkins has a nice turn as the villain and it was nice seeing Liam McIntyre back on the screen after finishing his role as Spartacus in the recent Starz series. Other than that, you walk out of the theatre and quickly forget about the film. And with how much a ticket costs these days, so much more is expected from all involved. This would be the epitome of what could be considered a “Greek tragedy”.
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars