Premise: In the first instance of Hercules being played by a guy named Dwayne; the legendary hero joins forces with the king of Athens to take down the army of Rhesus, the evil Lord of Peanut Butter Cups, who is doing something to someone, that makes the king angry or something. But is the king himself evil? Did Hercules murder his family? Probably not? Yeah, I assumed he didn’t either. That was a dumb side story of manufactured suspense that no one fell for. Does anyone even care? Oh… wait… Oh my god… I didn’t realize this was a Brett Ratner film until the credits started rolling… It all makes so much sense now! The incompetence makes so much sense now!
-That one shot with the big lion was kinda cool. The rest of the good imagery was few and far between.
-I like that John Hurt isn’t dead. Remember Midnight Express? Maybe I should rewatch that this weekend?
-In probably the greatest moment of unintentional hilariousness, Hercules basically Tokyo Drifts a chariot through a battlefield.
-I like the font they used on the posters.
-Seriously, Brett Ratner? I mean, I like Rush Hour, and Rush Hour 2 is watchable. But Paramount wanted to create a new, modern, cool version of Hercules and they hire the director of Tower Heist? Haha, the Rotten Tomatoes consensus actually made me laugh: “Hercules has Brett Ratner behind the cameras and Dwayne Johnson rocking the loincloth — and delivers exactly what any reasonable person reading that description might expect.” I honestly didn’t realize Ratner directed it until it was over, but had I gone into it with those low expectations, I might have been a little more lenient on it as I watched it. Because I know Ratner sucks. I just didn’t know what the hell I was watching, or why it was of this quality before that bit of info.
-In the first 10 minutes, five guys come running towards Hercules and he just swings a club through the air, clearly missing all of them, and they all fall down like bowling pins. That’s when I first asked myself, “Is this movie supposed to be THIS cheesy?”
-So many bad, embarrassing line reads. It might stem from the awful dialogue in the awful screenplay. You want to see something you’ve never seen before? Go see Hercules and see Dwayne Johnson phone in a performance for the first time in his career. I almost felt bad for him.
-The editing is abrupt and disjointed. It’s one of those movies where you start to notice when they cut to bad shots at inappropriate times, and that’s never a good thing.
-All those big, cool looking animals that Hercules fights in all the marketing materials, ya know, the ones that are implied that Hercules would be fighting throughout the film… Those scenes are all within the first 5 minutes of the movie. Then the next 93 minutes are Hercules *not* fighting cool animals.
Now it’s time for a Con Section Cliche Sidekick Roll Call, y’all! Some details in this might be considered spoilers if 1) you plan on seeing this movie, which I wouldn’t advise you to, or 2) YOU’VE NEVER SEEN A MOVIE BEFORE.
-First up, the tall amazon lady sidekick. She’s badass and she don’t take no guff from dudes, y’all! The king is all like, “I don’t think this quest is for a girls, bro”, then she shoots TWO arrows at once between the dude guards’ legs, narrowly missing their dicks. Then the king is like “Whoa, nevermind, this girl is like as tough as a man, and whatnot!” Then in another scene she’s like teaching all the army dudes how to shoot arrows because she’s better than them and like girls rule and boys drool, amirite? Then she hits one of them in the dick and it makes him shoot straight. Then later she shoots an arrow at a bad guy’s dick and then nods at Hercules approvingly. WE GET IT. SHE’S BETTER THAN DUDES, AND SHE KNOWS WE DON’T LIKE GETTING SHOT IN THE DICK. I’m just happy she empowered all the women in the audience by wearing a sweaty, armor bikini throughout the entire film. Totally not a misogynistic object of sexual desire, you guys.
-Next, the smart-ass right hand man, who is in it for the money, and after getting paid is all like “I’m out, Hercules, you can fight without me from now on” and rides away. Does he come back out of nowhere at a crucial point of conflict to save Hercules in the final battle? Just ask yourself: HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MOVIE BEFORE?
-Movin’ on down, the crazy sidekick guy who never talks and acts like an animal. He screams a lot and provides a lot of the film’s unnecessary physical humor, most likely due to his mental disabilities. Do you think he’ll say his first word to Hercules at the end of the film? Just ask yourself: HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MOVIE BEFORE?
-The little guy is next, and he’s all talk, and he’s too small to fight. But he WANTS to fight! But Hercules is all like “You’re too small, you can’t fight.” BUMMER. Do you think he’ll pick up a weapon and save Hercules’ life when no one else could? Just ask yourself: HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MOVIE BEFORE?
Finally, Ian McShane, playing the old guy comic relief sidekick who constantly reminds the audience that he’s seen a vision of when he’s going to die, and THAT’S HILARIOUS FOR SOME REASON. Do you think when that moment finally happens, something will prevent that death and then he’ll make a witty joke? Just ask yourself: HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A MOVIE BEFORE?
ROLL CALL OVER, Y’ALL
-The battle scenes had some of the most boring, uninspiring fight choreography I’ve ever seen. Just people running around, swinging things. Falling down. No tension build up. No moments of turning the tide. Everything is so inconsequential, because Hercules and his bros are basically indestructible for most of the movie. Fighting 50 guys by themselves without a scratch. There was even one part where Lady Dickshot is shooting arrows, and a bad guy is creeping up behind her, and she does two karate moves on him without ever turning around. Whoever thought that was a cool idea, or a new idea, deserves to be- oh right. Ratner.
-Awful music score.
-None of the characters have any motivation.
-It’s probably the most boring way to tell the Hercules story. The whole cutesy gimmick of the movie is that he’s not actually the son of Zeus, he’s just a badass mortal dude who fights really good. And they use his “legend” to inspire the troops of Athens to rally behind him and trust him. But then he has unfathomable superhuman strength anyway; where he can flip horses upside down with one arm, jump 30 feet in the air, and push over 10,000 pound statues by himself. So, like, IS he a god? Or is he a- Uhhhg, I don’t even care at this point. Not worth the brain cells to think about it.
Final Thoughts: I’m a little shocked that this is at 71% on Rotten Tomatoes (as of when I wrote this review last night). It’s only 25 reviews though, so I assume that will go down drastically by the end of the weekend. Frankly, I’m more confused whether this movie was supposed to be a comedy or an action movie? There were parts of it so dumb that it bordered on spoof territory (yelling “I. Am. HERCULES!” in the same speed and cadence as “This. Is. SPARTA!” being a prime example). But then *most* of it was loud and overly serious. There were many definite attempts at creating “cool” action shots, most of which were either failures, or things I’ve seen before. It wasn’t cool. It wasn’t funny. It wasn’t crazy enough to be considered fun. If you thought this was an “over-the-top” silly action movie, you probably haven’t seen very many good action movies. Dredd, now there’s a recent, silly, over-the-top action movie. Hercules is about on-par with Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. Eh, just don’t go see it, alright?
3.5 out of 10