Brett Ratner, destroyer of the X-Men franchise and a generally awful director returns to the big screen with an adaptation of the Hercules legend. The Gods must be angry. To say I hated Hercules would be an understatement. I loathed it, not just bits of it but everything about it.
Toward the end of the film, Hercules, bound in chains, yells “I am Hercules”. This is a lie. This re-imagining of the myth finds him as a leader of mercenaries for hire, who travel across the country offering their services to those in need, like a Grecian A-Team.
In the film, the tales of his twelve labours have become legendary (the slaying of the Hydra, the Nemean Lion) but there’s still those who doubt the stories in favour of a more believable one.
Is he a demi-God or simply a strong man who’s a bit of a con-artist? These are the questions the film asks and handled correctly could have made for an interesting take on the ancient myth.
The problem is that the film makers don’t know the answers themselves. They are just as in the dark as we are; we’re given a confused story, one without any real closure and contradicting messages (you don’t need to be a God to be a hero but it helps).
The main issue I have with it is that the story is just so predictable and boring. We are constantly reminded through the film of Hercules’s twelve labours and the various beasts he’s had to face, yet we’re only given three minutes of the action at the beginning of the film.
What follows are numerous soul-numbing battles between men, which leaves you wanting more of the monster stuff that makes the myth so, well, mythological. The writing is truly abysmal with golden nuggets such as “Fucking centaurs!!’ feeling wholly out of place as opposed to edgy.
Between these ‘classic’ one-liners, we are treated to innuendo-laced quips about long tongues and the like, from under developed and carbon copy characters we’ve seen a million times.
Not even John Hurt or Ian McShane can salvage the film, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson just lacks any charisma whatsoever. He’s got the physicality for the role and does a fine job of throwing people (and horses) around, but everytime he spoke, I cringed.
So that’s awful performances, awful writing and once again, awful direction from Ratner. It’s a perfect example of a film having big sets, special effects and action sequences that fall flat due to a complete lack of story.
More perfunctory twaddle than sweeping epic, Hercules tries to be edgy and different but ultimately fails at both. Another disaster from Brett Ratner, the only thing I could think worse than having to sit through this again would be to have to watch a Michael Bay film.
Image credit to http://www.schmoesknow.com