Director: Renny Harlin
Cast: Kellan Lutz, Gaia Weiss, Scott Adkins, Roxanne McKee, Liam McIntyre, Rade Serbedzija, Johnathon Schaech, Luke Newberry
RunTime: 1 hr 40 mins
Rating: PG13 (Violence)
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Official Website: http://hercules3dmovie.com/
Opening Day: 9 January 2014
Synopsis: When prince Hercules learns of his real identity, he must choose to flee with his true love - Hebe, Princess of Crete - or to fulfill his destiny by overthrowing the tyrannical rule of the king and restoring peace to a land in hardship.
Step aside, Kevin Sorbo, we have a new man for the role of Hercules and his name is Kellan Lutz. If you have no idea who Mr Lutz is, check out his appearances in the Twilight instalments.
Anyway back to The Legend of Hercules. As the title suggests, this is an origin story that sets up the demigod character. Despised by his father King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins) since the day he was born, Hercules - the son of Zeus and Queen Alcmene (Roxanne McKee) - is sent to war after failing to elope with his true love, Princess Hebe (Gaia Weiss). King Amphitryon favors his elder son, Iphicles (Liam Garrigan); unfortunately he is not warrior material let alone lead a kingdom and winning the heart of Princess Hebe. As fate would have it, Hercules survived the war and returns to reclaim his love and kingdom from the wrath of King Amphitryon.
The poster reads From the director of Cliffhanger and Die Hard 2 - it’s unfortunate they forgot to add in the fact that both were movies from more than twenty years ago, and Renny Harlin’s directing career has long been sunk by a certain Cutthroat Island. Let’s face it; The Legend of Hercules isn’t going to resurrect Harlin’s status in Hollywood anytime soon.
While similarly themed movies such as 300, Immortals and Clash of the Titans are known more for their visual aesthetics than storytelling, The Legend of Hercules failed miserably on both accounts. Filmed entirely in Eastern Europe because of cheaper costs and taxes, Harlin’s movie mimics the feel and look of its predecessors while pretending to strip down to the grittiness of that era. However every single set piece looks like a cheap knock-off, right down to the CG extensions - case in point, one seriously fake looking puppeteer lion looks even worse than that in cable series Spartacus and Rome.
Written by at least four credited writers (one of them from the terrible Conan the Barbarian remake and Harlin himself), it is such a shame that the supposedly mythology-inspired story instead resembles Ridley Scott’s Gladiator more than anything - if you recall, Maximus, was also betrayed and sold to slavery but made a comeback for revenge. We didn’t realize that the legendary Greek hero Hercules actually ventures on the same path until now.
Unimaginative plotting aside, the movie suffers from incredible clunky, modernized dialogue peppered with a variety of British and American accents and awful delivery from the actors. With the exception of McKee and Adkins (surprisingly turning in a solid performance), most of the cast members - especially Lutz - needs to sign up for advanced acting classes. Minus off all the disemboweling, limb and head severing and bloodshed you normally would have expect from such a theme (an obvious attempt to lure in younger audiences), The Legend of Hercules quickly dissolves into a predictable yawn fest.
It’s a tad disappointing that a movie about a demigod with incredible strength fares without emotion and plays like generally a mere paint-by-number adventure. Comparing to the 1997 animated feature by Disney, this one is hardly worth the time.
(Incredibly shallow and underwhelming, even Hercules cannot lift himself out of this mess)
Review by Linus Tee