Director Renny Harlin’s (Cliffhanger; Die Hard 2) dull mythological adventure The Legend of Hercules is no more than an obvious retread of 300, with nods to Clash of the Titans thrown in for good measure.
Former male model Kellan Lutz plays the hero Hercules, conceived by Queen Alcmene (Roxanne McKee) and the god Zeus in order to create a demigod who can end the reign of Quenn Alcmene’s husband, the tyrannical King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins). But the king, not knowing his wife has become the subject of Zeus’ lust, interrupts Alcmene as she is being ravaged by Zeus, well, by his “presence” anyway. Enraged, he believes that she has taken a lover and when she conceives and layer gives birth, he refuses to love or care for the child, favoring the couple’s older son, Iphicles (Liam Garrigan).
Skip forward twenty years, and the king has arranged for Iphicles to marry Hebe (Gaia Weiss), the princess from Crete whom Hercules is madly in love with. King Amphitryon’s plan to rid himself and Iphicles of the obstacle is to send Hercules off to war in Egypt, but its really a deathtrap. Unfortunately for the king, Hercules survives, ending up sold into slavery where he battles his way to freedom as a gladiator and makes his way back to Greece. Hercules has but one thing on his mind, to reclaim the love of his life Hebe, but inadvertently he becomes the leader of a rebellion against the King and will have to make the ultimate choice between love and the freedom of his nation.
Dull, boring, cliché – those are just three words that can be used to describe this awful film. These characters are terribly unbelievable, given some of the clunkiest dialogue ever put to page. While none of them bring anything remarkable to their roles, they must be granted kudos for pulling them off with such seriousness.
As for Renny Harlin, he seems at a loss for any sort of visual originality here, every effect taken directly from the 300 playbook. Every action sequence is constantly interrupted by slow-motion effects and the occasional fake looking background. At no time, however, does Harlin make anything in Hercules fun for the viewer, despite the monotonous action sequences. The characters are flat, the love story far too melodramatic, and the ultimate outcome well known before we get to it.
With an action/adventure film like this, we at least beed something fun to keep us hooked, but pretty quickly into this one things get stale. With its prolonged periods hokey palace intrigue and terrible dialogue best left unsaid, grimy look, and lifted style, The Legend of Hercules is one film that makes a strong contender for a Razzie.
2D HD: [Rating:5/5]
3D Effect: [Rating:5/5]
The Legend of Hercules is an original 3D production shot using the 3Ality Technica Atom 3D Rig with the 3Ality Technica – SIP (Stereoscopic Image Processor) and the Red Epic cinematographic high definition camera. The 3D quality shows in this production and director Renny Harlin certainly utilizes the technology well from the very opening sequences. We have plenty of spears, swords, and arrows that fly out at us, and that overused slow-motion effects that pan 380-degrees around splashing water and so forth offer great depth of field. There are also plenty of little things like confetti and pollen that constantly float in front of us. In a word, it’s fantastic, and this 1080p MVC encodement from Summit looks great as well. In 2D, the film is no slouch either, and actually has a bit more texture and little more of a film-like appearance, absent the minor softening that occurs in the 3D, either from the effect of the glasses or otherwise.
A dynamic and engaging lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is included. We get an aggressive use of the surround channels filled with the clamor of metal swords, the galloping of horses, and the marching of soldiers, or the roar of thunder and downpour of rain. The action across the front is wide and spacious while the entire affair is underpinned by deeply extended lows. Dialogue stays neatly above the hectic sound effects.
Not much here outside of the obligatory EPK-type making of and an audio commentary.
- iTunes & Digital HD UltraViolet
- The Making of The Legend of Hercules
- Audio Commentary with Kellan Lutz and director Renny Harlin
The Definitive Word
At least the 3D effects in The Legend of Hercules (if you watch in 3D) make it a little more exciting. Otherwise, this reductive adventure may not even be worth renting on a slow weekend.
Additional Screen Captures