The Legend Of Hercules is less a movie than a collection of other films and TV series that have been dissected and then stitched back together to make something new (sort of). Fans of Greek mythology probably won’t be that impressed either, as while it takes little bits of the legends it creates its own story to turn it into a kind of superhero origin story.
The tyrannical King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins) is renowned as the most fearsome warrior around, who no one can beat in battle. His wife, Alcmene (Roxanne McKee), is told by a messenger of Hera that she will have a son by Zeus –who will be called Hercules – and whose destiny is to restore peace to the land. Amphitryon isn’t impressed by this new addition to the family, who he decides will be called Alcides, and is never shy about telling him he’s not as good as older brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan).
Once grown Alcides (Kellan Lutz) falls for the beautiful Princess Of Crete (Gaia Weiss), which turns out to be a bad idea as she’s been promised to Iphicles. With Amphitryon feeling Alcides’ dalliance has shamed the family, he sends him off into battle where he expects him to die. Before Alcides goes, his mother tells him his father is Zeus and he’s really called Hercules, something the young man doesn’t believe is true.
Instead of dying in battle as he’s supposed to, Alcides is sold into slavery. He must then come to terms with his supernatural birthright if he is going to win his freedom and free the kingdom.
The Legend Of Hercules is not a great film. It seems to hope that nicking bits of 300 (particularly the idea of slowing down and speeding up the action during battle), Gladiator, Spartacus (both the 1960 film and the recent TV series – even to the point of casting Liam McIntyre as Hercules’ friend Soltiris), along with modern superhero films, will make it worth watching in its own right. That could have been okay if it didn’t have a script that feels like it is trying to be Shakespeare written by an amateur, and acted like it’s a high school play.
Add in some almost astounding preposterousness and the fact the bad guys have less depth than panto villains, and a lot of it is almost impossibly stupid.
There are some positives. The action scenes are pretty good even if they are a little over the top, and if you’re a fan of men with big muscles, there are plenty of those on display. In fact after the incredibly stupid first 40 minutes, it gets pretty watchable in an so-bad-it’s-good way, so that its stunning silliness starts to bring a smile to your face rather than a grimace
The Legend Of Hercules never genuinely gets good, and you’re certainly not going to want to watch it on repeat, but it could have been worse.
Overall Verdict: A spectacularly silly and messy amalgam of 100 other films and TV series, which has its moments but will generally leave you wondering how they thought a lot of it was a good idea.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac