"this reimagined tale of the son of Zeus is a fun action romp"
It’s barely been 4 months, but already the second Greek mythology film of the year arrives in a more grandiose way, encapsulating the blockbuster-esque fever currently dominating the box office chart. Adapted from the late Steve Moore’s graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars, this histrionic re-imaging sees Hercules as a mere moral mercenary, who struggles to grapple with the magnitude surrounding his own myth and legend.
Dwayne ‘bulging biceps’ Johnson takes on the legendary titular role, who within the imminent opening scenes theatrically adorns a hat made out of a lion’s head; this event alone sets the inclination of events to follow. Hercules is accompanied by a band of dutiful and devoted mercenaries (Amphiaraus, Autolycus, Tydeus, Atalanta and Ioluas), who each have a singularly unique skill, including but not limited to storytelling, archery and foreseeing the future. They loyally consort alongside their leader with an enterprising rent-a-mercenary formula which sees this 1400 BC Avengers style team hire their services to anyone - as long as it entails the right amount of gold.
Hired by the king of Thrace (a sprightly John Hurt) to protect his land from the tyrannical warlord Rhesus and his army of centurions, Hercules and crew set about training left over civilians into a tough and blood thirsty army. Brett Ratner (Tower Heist, Rush Hour franchise) is able to maintain the right balance of humour and battle sequences, which sees Amphiaraus (Ian McShane) supreme champion of the one liner in this surprisingly comic demi-god odyssey.
Whilst grainy CGI and unimpressive 3D leaves a lot to be desired, there’s no denying that the simply titled Hercules is an enjoyable, engaging and fast paced watch from start to finish. Alongside Johnson’s ever charismatic and testosterone fuelled on screen presence, this is the only must see mythology blockbuster this year. However, the violence has been edited and scaled back to achieve a 12A certificate which ensures a far more family friendly affair, and with any luck upon DVD release there may well be a more graphic and extended cut à la Taken 2. To truly unleash the full potential of the ambitious and lengthy battle scenes, which never fully reach the ultimate crescendo.
Verdict – With rousing pre battle speeches and Johnson’s well-oiled chest and muscles on display for the main duration of the film, this reimagined tale of the son of Zeus is a fun action romp, which demands to be viewed in glorious roaring IMAX.