Rating: 2 out of 5
Take one part mythological hero, one part special effects and one part adequate script and you have the action adventure movie The Legend of Hercules, (2014). It’s not a bad movie, just not all that original. Much of the plot is formulary taking bits and pieces of other stories pasted together to create this movie. It doesn’t try to emulate the historical-mythological story. It’s kind of a mix of pieces and parts from the films: John Carter (Taylor Kitsch), Gladiator (Russell Crowe), Spartacus: War of the Damned –TV Series (Andy Whitfied), and Immortals (Mickey Rourke).
Bottom Line Up Front: The movie is not a terrible movie; it’s just not a memorable film. It’s one of those that you probably should wait for it to hit TV Cable or Dish services.
The Good: Even when a script isn’t great, as long as you find the right actor who can present the right appearance and give the lines in a convincing manner, and the film can have some success. This movie has two actors, Kellan Lutz as Hercules and Scott Adkins as King Amphitryon that provides us a couple of convincing bigger than life characters to watch. The first few minutes and the last few minutes ARE the film; those combined 15-20 minutes pretty much make the movie worthwhile. Beyond that, there is not much to hold the viewers’ interest.
The Bad: The lack of originality in the writing; unconvincing special effects and scene setting; a lack of any other memorable characters; and, an overall lackluster production. Beyond the few minutes at the start and the end of the film consisting primarily of scenes with Kellan Lutz and Scott Adkins, the bulk of the movie is remarkably forgettable.
Other actors in the movie include: Gaia Weiss, Roxanne McKee, Liam Garrigan, Liam McIntyre, and Rade Serbedzija.
The story is set in Ancient Greece sometime around 1200 BCE.
King Amphitryon of Tires invades Argos. As the two opposing armies face each other, eager to engage in bloody battle, King Amphitryon challenges King Galenus to a winner takes all one-on-one fight. Amphitryon and Galenus have their moment of battle that ends fairly quickly with Galenus’s death. Amphitryon has taken the Kingdom of Argos without losing any of his soldiers.
Amphitryon returns to his encampment and wife (Queen Alcmene played by Roxanne McKee) to have a great drunken party with his men and a few concubines. The queen sees her husband, the King, having a good-time with the other women and his men.
The Queen Gets A Visitor
The Queen prays to Hera for guidance. Out of nowhere a woman appears as Hera’s representative that asks her if she is willing to bear the child of Zeus. The Queen is told that this son of Zeus will be the savior of her people. She accepts the offer. Then the most sexual moment of the film occurs as McKee has sexual relations with the “invisible” King of the Gods, Zeus. Zeus is never seen; just the Queen writhing in bed as her husband the king looks in and goes ballistic. He thinks his wife has been bedded by a mortal man and he searches the camp for the person that slept with his wife in spite of the Queen’s pleas that there was not man in her bed. The only other person that knows the truth is the Queen’s friend and advisor, Chiron, played by Rade Serbedzija.
A Hero is Born
The baby is born, yet, given a name other than Hercules. However, the name Hercules was given to the babe by Zeus’s messenger. The king does not accept that the baby is his; thus, he treats the child as a bastard. The royal couple has another son (Iphicles) that the King clings to considering him the true heir to the throne. And as is always the case in these formulary plots, the King’s favorite is a contemptible over-grown spoiled brat, who takes credit for anything good his bastard brother accomplishes while showing the audience his cowardice.
Our Hero, Hercules: The Queen does tell Hercules the truth about who his father is but he refuses to believe it at first. It takes him a long while in the movie to give in and make use of his full potential.
Hercules has a love interest, no surprise there, who the King promises away to his favorite son, Iphicles played by Liam Garrigan.
Plot to Kill
The King sends Hercules of on a soldierly mission that, surprise – surprise is a trap to kill the unwanted son. We have our little battle, yet, Hercules still gets caught. The conspirators that ambushed our hero ask which man here is the son of the Queen. Hercules, realizing that if he told the truth, he and the only other survivor of the ambush would be killed; so he lies and points to a dead soldier on the ground naming the slain the King’s son. Hercules, giving the conspirators a false name, convinces them that he and his fellow soldier are worth more sold as slaves than dead. They see the wisdom in that arrangement and so we see our hero sold into slavery. The conspirators send back a message to the King that
Fight for Freedom, Fight to Win
As a slave, Hercules fights several fights and opponents to eventually win his freedom.
He gets captured by the King. The King has him chained up. He has a nice herculean strength demonstration scene. This all leads to his gaining control of the bulk of the King’s army.
Hercules challenges the King to the same one-on-one, winner take all combat, as he knew the King did in the beginning of the film; the King rejects the offer. Hercules demonstrates his real father’s power with a nice special effect. Hercules and the King do fight it out at one point; a scene that makes it clear that even the great King is a bit stronger than even the best fighters as he gives Hercules a bit of a contest. Hercules wins, gets the girl. Hurrah.
As stated in the “Bottom Line” comment, it’s not a bad movie per-say; it’s just not that original. Lutz and Adkins are the movies only savings grace. This is a “watch it movie when you have nothing else to do and want to sit around and kill time films.”