Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is Hercules in “Hercules.” Yeah, put that brain away – it’s time for some epic silliness.
“Hercules” tells the story of Dwayne Johnson beating people up with a really, really big stick. There was something in there with John Hurt as a king betraying Hercules, who was working as a merchant and somehow is not the son of Zeus, but then he really is, or he isn’t… Already too much thought has gone into this.
If you want to see a movie that actually includes some Greek mythology, go watch “Jason and the Argonauts.” Director Brett Ratner decided all that mythology was pish-posh – he’s going to tell the real story of Hercules, without all those unbelievable myths. After all, Dwayne Johnson is the star, and who wants to see him fight mythical creatures?
Yes, not only does this movie speed through the 12 labors of Hercules, but it tells us the labors were completed by Hercules and his merry band of warriors, even though the creatures they had to defeat didn’t really exist, maybe. Also, Hercules uses his legendary repuation as the son of Zeus for personal profit.
This isn’t a bad idea, but the film is so confused about the mythos that it becomes nonsensical. The title sequence at the end depicts Hercules and his comrades completing the tasks in animated form. Even if this was only in the title sequence, it was really cool watching these people work as a team to defeat the threats. But, you’re left wondering what they were fighting if the mythical creatures are only myths in the film as well. At one point, Hercules scoffs at the idea of centaurs – and for good reason, since they apparently don’t exist in this movie’s universe. But why would he scoff at the idea of centaurs if he had taken down other mythical beasts? And if they hadn’t defeated actual beasts during the labors, what were they really fighting?
Because the film isn’t focused on the 12 labors we’re left with the scraps in “Hercules.” It’s too bad, since the 12 labors would have been more fun with this film’s setup.
But for what it is, it could have been a lot worse. Confusing and nonsensical as it was, there was still some fun to be had. You got to see armies battling, Dwayne Johnson going nuts with a big stick and some amusing side characters making funny quips here and there.
In fact, watching “Hercules” is like watching an overblown Thor movie. You’ve got the dude with a big stick and pair of biceps, his loyal and occasionally wacky sidekicks and the big battle for the world. Dwayne Johnson even has the long hair and beard to match. We can only hope this leads to something like “Hercules vs. Thor: Battle of the Beards” in the future.
If anything, the movie’s biggest problem is that it takes itself too seriously. Throwing away the mythos of Hercules wasn’t the brightest idea, but at least Dwayne Johnson is there to entertain you.