Director: Brett Ratner
Writer: Ryan Condal, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Based on: Steve Moore‘s comic
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell, Aksel Hennie, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Reece Ritchie, Joseph Fiennes, Tobias Santelmann, Rebecca Ferguson, Joe Anderson, Peter Mullan
Everybody knows the legend of Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) and his heroic deeds, strategically enhanced by his nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchie). Now that he completed his twelve tasks and after horrific past events that still haunt him, Hercules works as a sword for hire with his group – Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), Atalanta (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) and Iolaus. When he is approached by Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson) for help defeating warlord Rheseus (Peter Santelmann), Hercules takes the job. But it isn’t quite as simple as it appears at first.
Hercules had everything I wanted it to have: self-awareness, nice action, quipping, Dwayne Johnson in a skirt, an excellent cast and so much fun. It was utterly enjoyable.
There is a certain purity to Hercules and his absolute committal to just have fun, dammit. Will this version Hercules ever win any awards for outstanding performances, excellent screenwriting or deepness of thought? Probably not. But it never sets out to do that. It’s the kind of film where a convenient chasm the villain can fall into is just suddenly there in the middle of the city and nobody bats an eyelash. And that’s a thing of beauty.
It feels like everybody involved had not only committed to the fun, but actually had fun themselves while shooting. There is just this air of relaxed cooperation and benign sense of humor to the film that seems to come with any Dwayne Johnson comedy. Even if it’s not completely issue-free (Atalanta’s “armor” for example), the most logical thing ever or hasn’t the most sophisticated sense of humor, it’s basically the movie equivalent of a puppy: sure, it might chew your shoe every once in a while, but it’s so cute and adorable and it wants to please you so much that the shoe is not only quickly forgiven but actually forgotten.
The movie is well paced. The action sequences don’t have too much shaky-cam and are clear enough that you always know what’s happening and where. (It’s hard to believe that the same guy directed this as X-Men: The Last Stand.) The supporting cast is great, too (When was the last time I saw Joseph Fiennes and when has he started to look so much like Ralph Fiennes?). I probably don’t have to mention anymore how much I adore Dwayne Johnson, but for all new readers: I absolutely do. The script is full of jokes and surprisingly accurate battle formations.
It’s rare to get a movie experience that completely fulfills all your expectations. This one does – and it’s immensly satisfying.
Summarizing: Certainly the best Hercules movie of the year [yeah, I’m looking at you, Legend of Hercules] – but wonderfully entertaining even in its own right.