Dwayne Johnson has recently earned himself a reputation for joining a faltering franchise and helping that franchise to go on and earn megabucks at the box-office. With Hercules, Johnson tries to launch a franchise of his own and if I’m being honest, it falls quite flat on its face.
Based on the graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars, Johnson plays the role of Hercules in a film that takes a look at the man himself rather than the legend. Not at all what I was expecting considering the marketing campaign for this film.
If you are going along to enjoy seeing Hercules fight some mythological creatures don’t get your hopes up. All of that footage from the trailers goes by in the first ten-minutes of the film.
Hercules is the leader of a group of mercenaries made up of the prophet Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), the thief Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), the warrior Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), the archer Atalanta (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) and the storyteller Iolaus (Reece Ritchie).
As the group go about their work, Iolaus tells the tale of Hercules and the twelve labours to strike fear into their enemies, as it not everybody’s choice to believe Hercules as a demigod.
The group are hired by Lord Cotys (John Hurt) to train the armies of Thrace and defend the kingdom from warlord Rheseus (Tobias Santelmann). With all this going on, Hercules must battle the demons of his past after the death of his wife and children.
The worrying thing about Hercules is that Johnson, even with all his charm and charisma, has trouble carrying this film. Johnson plays Hercules almost as if he is confused about what kind of film this actually is.
In the end, Johnson went for a bit of a serious take on the character in the middle of a quite light-hearted film. The performance doesn’t match the tone of the film and that bothered me throughout.
Johnson as always shows a serious dedication to his role. Seriously if you don’t believe that go and check out some of his Instagram posts. This dedication pays off with one particular stand-out scene that sees Hercules in chains and having to break free. Johnson himself has said he blacked out after every take of this scene.
You will be shouting “I AM HERCULES!!!” with him.
With other WWE star Dave Bautista giving a fine performance in Guardians of the Galaxy this summer, Johnson isn’t the only wrestler with a future career in acting.
The rest of the cast have a good go at things but because of the script and some of the poor jokes not hitting the right notes, many of them are just left hanging on screen. You could just picture the tumbleweed rolling by at any moment.
One actor I am starting to feel concerned for is John Hurt. The role of Lord Cotys was the perfect chance for Hurt to ham it up however, he comes across as if he is going senile.
Brett Ratner, the man responsible for X-Men: The Last Stand, doesn’t bring anything spectacular to the table and the end result is a mildly entertaining film with some rushed action set-pieces and too much overblown CGI.