Movie review: Hercules is brisk, breezy fun with fine sword-and-sandals spectacles

  • hercules

    Hercules is an upcoming American adventure film directed by Brett Ratner and starring Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, Reece Ritchie, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Joseph Fiennes, and ...

  • hercules

    See Dwayne Johnson like you’ve never seen him. Hercules is in theaters Friday.

  • hercules

    Hercules is based on the graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars.

  • hercules

    Having completed his legendary twelve labours, Greek demigod Hercules has his life as a sword-for-hire tested when the King Cotys of Thrace and his daughter ...

  • hercules

    Hercules is set to be released on July 25, 2014.

  • hercules

    It is one of two Hollywood-studio Hercules films released in 2014, the other being Summit Entertainment's The Legend of Hercules.

  • Hercules

    A still from the upcoming movie Hercules that hits the theatres tomorrow.

Direction: Brett Ratner
Actors: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane
Rating: *** 1/2

Although it doesn’t come close to matching the splendour of Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2000), this account of the larger-than-life exploits of the Greek demigod is one of the finer sword-and-sandals spectacles in recent memory. Combining visceral action with involving dramatics, Hercules is brisk, breezy fun.
Also watch: Hercules review

Often wrongly maligned as director, Brett Ratner (Rush Hour trilogy) quickly sketches the protagonist’s background as a tormented hero struggling to come to terms with the death of his wife and three children.

Adapted from the graphic novel by the late Steve Moore, the opening montage features the titular strongman (Johnson, aka The Rock) slaying lions, hydras and a gargantuan boar as part of his arduous tasks.

Next: Herc and his band of merry mercenaries take up arms with the king of Thrace (John Hurt, impressive as ever). They help train his ragtag army to vanquish a rival warlord.

The narrative brims with a wealth of visual flourishes, courtesy legendary cinematographer Dante Spinotti. Even the capabilities of 3D are optimally utilized.

Staged across sprawling landscapes, the battles are choreographed with panache. A dose of humour is occasionally injected to relieve the tension generated by the gritty goings-on.

Ian McShane is delightfully deadpan as the spear-wielding soothsayer who wrongly foretells his own death on several occasions. The rest of Hercules’ followers include his teenage nephew, a mute orphan-turned-deadly warrior and an Amazonian archer (Ingrid Bolso Berdal). A pleasant surprise among the week’s releases, Hercules is highly recommended.


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