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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
One of the most interesting thing about mythology is considering: what people or events might have inspired legends of gods, heroes and monsters?

That question seems to have inspired "Hercules," the second movie about the Grecian strongman in less than a year... and thankfully, it involves no bleached-haired "Twilight" actors. Instead, this simple and cheesy yet action-packed story depicts a "realistic" Hercules played by the charismatic Dwayne Johnson, who is one of the few men alive who actually LOOKS like Hercules.

In this movie, Hercules (Johnson) is the leader of a band of mercenaries -- including an Amazon warrior, a thief, a feral berserker and a seer who is waiting for his death to turn up -- who take on ridiculously difficult tasks. Hercules' nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchie) works PR for them, spreading stories of how Hercules is supposedly the offspring of Zeus, explaining his ridiculously awesome strength. The reality is a bit more tragic, as indicated in flashbacks to his pre-merc days to a wife and children who have just two days until retirement.

Then Hercules is approached by Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson), a Thracian princess whose dad Cotys (John Hurt) wants him to train his army to resist the warlord Rheseus (Tobias Santelmann). Hercules and his compatriots successfully fix up the rather pathetic army into a successful fighting force, and even lead them into battle... but soon Hercules begins to suspect that he and his followers have been tricked into being on the wrong side.

"Hercules" is a pure popcorn movie -- it has no pretensions of being deep or artistic, and while it's not a great movie, it's not a bad one either. It's basically a movie devoted to big smashy-shooty battles full of fire and Hercules hitting things with a club. And it doesn't take itself seriously, giving the characters a lot of funny moments ("Excuse me, that was my fate!") until things go dark at the climax.

And it is an interesting exercise in whatiffery: what if the legends of Hercules were based on a real man with abnormal strength? Fortunately, Brett Ratner doesn't try to make it TOO realistic, mainly by giving everything an over-the-top atmosphere -- sort of a lighter, less stylized "300" feel. It's handled in a manner cheesy enough to make it amusing, but not so cheesy that it becomes ridiculous.

And Dwayne Johnson... well, is there any other actor better suited to playing Hercules? He's huge, he has big muscles, he's good at one-liners, and he has buckets of charisma that just make him darn likable. But he's also able to handle the tragedy of Hercules' past nicely, and conveys his grief despite us seeing almost nothing of Herc's wife and kids.

That said, Johnson is the only main character who gets a lot of development -- out of his whole posse, only McShane's character gets more than a single character trait (Autolycus = greedy, Tydeus = animalistic, Atalanta = female), and they have some nice bonding moments. The other actors are quite good, but not given much, though Ferguson has a decent role as a sorta-kinda-maybe love interest, whose young son adores Hercules.

As for the villains... well, they're so cartoonishly evil that it becomes ridiculous. Joseph Fiennes is almost comically bad here, campily snickering and smarming until you wish he had a Snidely Whiplash mustache just so he could twirl it. Not since the "Twilight" movies have I been so... AMUSED by a villain.

"Hercules" isn't a great movie, but it's probably the best Hercules movie in decades -- wry, action-packed and with a clever meta-mythic twist. It's definitely worth a watch when you want some fiery, over-the-top action.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Hercules'(Dwayne Johnson) Son of Zeus' is with his small band of followers 'Amphiarius' (Ian McShane) - 'Autolycus'
(Rufus Sewell) - 'Tydeus' (Askell Hennie) - 'Atalata' (Ingrid Bolso Berdal) and Nephew 'Iolaus' (Reece Ritchie) are
soldiers of fortune who's services can be acquired with the promise of 'gold' though things have not always been that
way, 'Hercules' now fights the demons of his past.
He is offered his weight in Gold to protect the innocents from what he believes to be a treacherous and uncompromising
enemy who threatens the lands and residents of 'Lord Cotys' (John Hurt) and daughter 'Ergenia' (Rebecca Ferguson)
'Hercules' and his followers act as an inspiration for 'Lord Cotys' forces against overwhelming odds of 'Rhesus's' (Tobias
Santelmann) forces.
The 'Lord's' men must be trained up to be all that they can be by 'Hercules' and followers to complete what they have
However it seems the cause 'Hercules' and followers had believed themselves to be fighting was not as they were told,
they have their Gold, but it's not over, wrongs have to be put right.
Seems to me they tried to re-create the feel of the once hailed epics of the 50's and early 60's, obviously the cast-list is
The film is a whole lot better than i believed it would be, guess i had low expectations given some of the reviews, the
battle sequences were well-staged, script maybe not all it might of been, however overall, pretty enjoyable.
The Picture and Sound Quality is Good.
Food for thought - Many feel that the intended blockbusters have been watered down some to acommodate the wider
audience and that this factor diminishes what the film could or maybe should have been...
Whist i agree in part with their views, in truth it boils down to economics.
The wider the audience the more pennies in the film-studios pockets....I'd say understandable (though they might struggle
to break-even with this one, only time will tell)
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40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
on 26 September 2014
took my son to see Hercules not expecting much, and then the movie started... oh no the best bits from the trailer are all in the first 5 minutes of the film, so thinking 2 hours of my life wasted i sighed and watched what i thought would be a total waste of time..BUT as the film went on it turned into a damn good, action packed, escapist entertaining film, no oscar winner but a really enjoyable movie . slightly cut to get a 12 cert but still some darker moments, but once again Dwayne Johnson (the rock) proves he can still pull off a good family action movie,, left the cinema pleasantly surprised .. hopefully we will get the full extended version on bluray like the usa is getting but the way a few other releases have gone i somehow doubt it....
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 December 2014
Muscle bound demigod Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) & his companions Amphiaraus (Ian McShane) a seer , Autolycus (Rufus Sewell) a rogue, Atalanta (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) an archer, Tydeus (Aksel Hennie ) a half man/animal warrior & Hercules's storytelling nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchie). Are hired by a Thracian Lord, Lord Cotys (John Hurt), to help him stop a ruthless warlord who is devastating his lands.

Overall, Hercules isn't quite the all out myth, monster hunting movie you might expect. But does offer that briefly with some very nice CGI creature fights early on in the introduction, explaining Hercules past life & deeds. However, since then something changed his life drastically, which the movie drip feeds us as a subplot of flashbacks. But as for now, picking up in his present life, Hercules lives off his epic past deeds thanks to his nephew who is the one introducing the movie with tales to strike fear into his enemies hearts. Hercules doesn't travel as a lone conquering hero as you might expect from legend, but instead a sellsword who works with a close knit group of companions that he has picked up along his journey. As gold & riches have clouded his judgement & identity.

The main story is interesting & has a very nice twist, along with the subplots you have plenty to keep your attention. The action is very CGI heavy, yet very entertaining. Don't let the 12 age rating completely fool you into thinking this is just a kiddies movie, it doesn't leave much to the imagination with it's impressive visuals & audio effects, yet there is no blood or gore hence why the age rating is low. Getting over his wig & fake beard, Dwayne looks impressively ripped for the role, really selling the persona of Hercules in mind & body. The support acting is solid with an experienced backbone to the cast, that enhance the experience dramatically & comically. Along with some neat new ideas that keep you guessing, it all helps to counter balance that samey/corny feel/elements of the film.

In conclusion, Hercules is an entertaining action adventure that races through it's hour & thirty minutes run time, if somewhat corny at times. Contains mild language (1x F-bomb) & violence. Recommended.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 3 December 2014
There’s nothing worse than a film that’s completely clichéd in every way. Or at least I thought so until I watched ‘Hercules.’ It’s absolutely everything you’ve seen a thousand times before, therefore it’s a mystery as to why I enjoyed it as much as I did.

From what I hear it’s hardly based on fact (and when I say ‘fact’ I mean the Greek legend of Zeus and Mount Olympus etc). Instead, it’s based on a comic book which, in turn, is based on the classic tale of Zeus’ half human-half god son, Hercules, and his adventures. Seeing as I’ve completely forgotten everything I learned about Ancient Greece at school and I’ve never read the comic books, I can’t comment on how well it ties into whatever source material it’s based on. However, I can tell you that – if you’re in the right frame of mind – it is quite good fun.

Dwayne ‘The sometimes Rock’ Johnson plays our titular character and he plays him with as much charm as you’d expect from our muscle-bound leading man. Many have criticised him as an ‘actor,’ but then he doesn’t need to do an awful lot of soul-searching to find inspiration to smash every baddie he encounters in the face. He does the job. He’s cool. He’s likable. And he wipes the floor with monster he meets.

And Dwayne’s not alone in his quest. Unusually, we get to see quite a lot of his mates, namely the band of warriors who follows him wherever he goes, generally picking off anyone who’s still alive after Herc has beaten an entire army to a pulp. Yes, his homies are all walking clichés, but they’re also fun enough to root for and it’s simply nice to see that, despite being ‘part immortal’ on his father’s side, even Herc needs a chum or two to get things done.

Do you really need to know what they do? There’s a baddie doing bad things. Herc and co have to stop him. Don’t bother wasting any more time on plot intricacies than that.

The film runs for an hour and a half and, if I’m honest, it actually feels a bit rushed. If they’d added an extra 20-30 minutes of character development, they really could have made something quite epic (as opposed to a fun little B-movie). Perhaps the worst thing about it is the computer-generated effects. And they’re worse at the beginning. Seriously, there are some scenes near the start that looked like they were created by a media student for his homework assignment (they do get better. A bit).

If you want to know what sort of mind frame I was in when I watched this, I’ll tell you. I was home from work with a cold. I didn’t feel 100% and was wrapped up under a blanket as I watched Hercules and his posse kicking ass. I didn’t want a deep and meaningful, heart-wrenching drama or anything I had to think about. I just wanted a fun little action movie to rest my brain to. And I got one. If you find yourself in a similar state, this is the kind of movie that should nurse you back to full health.
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on 6 December 2014
Like some people have said I too wasn't expecting much from this movie and was pleasantly surprised to find it is quite entertaining, its not the greatest epic ever made but its good fun all the way, the story is pretty simple and straight forward to get into, Hercules is a legendary character in history who has tales of him being that he is half human half god the son of Zeus and has defeated creatures and undergone impossible trials, he takes these stories with him as he and his mercenary friends dispatch of enemies for gold, his name and legendary stature lead him into a trap and betrayal, the story plays out well with plenty of action and fight scenes with Dwayne flexing his shiny muscles like he does best! The movie does have a touch of humour to it which is not necessary but is not too over the top, the cast is pretty good and Dwayne of course plays a perfect lead, the effects are good too, its a tad cheesy in places of course but no matter its a big dumb yet fun movie that's easy to watch, worth going back to a couple of times I think, so check it out especially if your a big Dwayne (the rock) Johnson fan!

Blu-ray picture is great.
plenty of nice little special features about the making etc.

The 3D is ok' just another gimmick, im not a fan of 3D and would only watch the 2D version anyway!
If you get the Zavvi exclusive steelbook version you get the 2D and 3D discs together!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 7 August 2014
Hercules is a half mortal, half god mercenary at least according to legend who gets hired by the kingdom of Thrace to defend it against an invading army. A fun, tongue in cheek romp not to be taken seriously that attempts to find the truth behind the myth of Hercules. Good action scenes and a good performance from Dwayne Johnson as Hercules with Joseph Fiennes, Ian Mcshane and John Hurt in the supporting cast all giving good support. All we need now is a sequel with Xena Warrior Princess!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2015
A mediocre sword and sorcery romp, Dwayne is good and his little band of mercenaries quite engaging. John Hurt earned his 5 bob. Dialogue was a laugh, Hurt at the last fight, " Kill the filthy bastards!" . Suspend your disbelief, get the popcorn and enjoy the nonsense. On the whole, an interesting take on the myth of Hercules and the way in which stories and legends grow.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Another movie all about the ancient hero Hercules. Stories of the legendary hero have been told and retold many times down the years. Thus like all such stories and movies about a character who has been in the public domain for longer than copyright laws have existed, this is a completely fresh take on a familiar source. Although in the case the source is actually a graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars which came up with it's own take on the character.

Hercules is a legend. A man who has completed the twelve labours. And a man whose reputation both precedes him and which has also made him somewhat larger than life. A point made during a decent opening in which his nephew spins some tales about his uncle.

Hercules [Dwayne Johnson] and his group of fellow warriors have been fighting for a long time. Have pasts they are haunted by. And are thinking about it possibly being the time to settle down. One last job for a King [John Hurt] might be what they need in order to achieve that aim. But their last battle turns out to be not quite what they expected. Can Hercules rediscover who he is in time to save the day?

This is what they call a sword and sandal movie, and as such it strives for realism over fantasy. All the battle sequences do try hard to look like realistic combat. The whole film as well has a washed out and sandy look to it.

It does try to be both grim and gritty and look at the horrors of combat. Consider the difference between a myth and it's reality. Put the lead character on a hero's journey, as he has to come to terms with past trauma and move forward. And do a bit of humour as well. In many ways it tries to do a lot of what the cult tv Hercules series of the 1990's did [not a show all may be familiar with, thanks to somewhat limited uk exposure. If not, check it out, as it was great]. But this being a blockbuster movie means it doesn't have quite the intelligence or the time to manage that. Thus it is a little disjointed in tone and can shift between things.

The supporting cast are all pretty good, but John Hurt as the King and Ian McShane as one of Hercules' band, a seer who is highly conscious of his own mortality, do steal the show from all around them thanks effortlessly strong acting. The latter managing some very nice self depreciating humour as well.

But this isn't a bad film at all. It's a capable production. It's got good spectacle and fight scenes and a decent cast. It also manages to shift gear slightly for the final act just when it needs to. It allows John Hurt to be a bit more than wise old kindly gentleman, and he does make the most of the material he gets.

Ultimately, it's a good bit of entertaining escapism.

So whilst it's not perhaps quite the movie it could have been, it's a fun watch if you're in the right mood. So for that, it's well worth a look.

There is one single bit of strong language. Which frankly is rather gratuitious as a result.

The dvd has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English.

Subtitles: English.

It's also English audio captioned.

It begins with a couple of trailers, which can be skipped via the next button on the dvd remote.

Extras are:

A commentary from the director and the producer.

Three featurettes:

Dwayne Johnson and Brett Ratner: an introduction. A look at the film, which runs for five minutes.

Hercules and his mercenaries: all about the supporting characters and cast. Runs for Ten minutes.

The effects of Hercules: All about how certain sequences were done. Which runs for eleven minutes.

All of these, thanks to some good interviewees, in particular Dwayne Johnson, are pretty good and worth watching.
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on 30 December 2014
Dwayne in a military uniform, Dwayne in a loin-cloth... same man different costume... but despite that, the story, though thin, is good in demystifying the legend of Hercules, especially in the art picture sequence in the closing credits at the end of the film.

The film owes a lot to what came before it from 300 with its graphic novel look to the Spartacus TV series and those fights scenes in the Roman arenas. Although it avoids the stylised martial art sequences of the Matrix it falls short of the impact one gets from Troy and Kingdom of Heaven. I enjoyed it but would I return to watch it again?... No.

One thing I would advise you is, if you're watching this on Blu-ray or DVD, watch the extras especially the deleted scenes. Why they were deleted is a mystery because whoever actioned this ripped out scenes that would have fleshed out the film, even the cheesy scene where Hercules advises the Boy-King on how to be a good king would have helped.
Three stars due to entertainment value...
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