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Review The Legend of Hercules (2014): Bad for sure but very misunderstood. It's satire people!

genre: action, adventure, fantasy

Misunderstood? Chrichton what on Earth do you mean? Let me explain.

For one thing you should not take this film seriously at all. Even when the whole cast and everyone involved in the production are convinced they are in some Shakespearean play. Why you ask? Renny Harlin. Renny Harlin who directed Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, Deep Blue Sea and The Long Kiss Goodnight to name but a few. And whether you like it or not those films I just mentioned were and still are a lot of fun. Renny Harlin often is aware of the poor scripts and storytelling and therefore tries to compensate that with good explosive action and effective thrills. In this film he does the same but also adds satire into the mix. Think about it. If you listen to the dialogue and the way the actors say their lines you can't help but laugh at them. Especially in the most dramatic scenes. You see I think Harlin let them do this on purpose. This way he achieved the best straight faced comedy possible. 

I think The Legend of Hercules is Renny Harlin's declaration of contempt for Hollywood and the people who are running it today. They expect miracles without giving their directors the means to do it properly. Usually the big time studio bosses want their henchmen to do as they say or they are done. Just look at the cast he was given. How would he ever be able to do something solid and serious with them. I like Scott Adkins and I thought he was quite nice as the villain. But his role needed finesse and subtlety. And Adkins is too limited of an actor to do that. Don't get me started on Kellan Lutz. I know it's not his fault but he has one of those faces you can't ever take seriously. He could try his hardest (like he does in this film) but he will simply fail to convince. And I am sure the big time studio bosses gave instructions to tone down the mythology and not portray fantastic elements too much because they did not want to spend more money on the budget than they already did. With his hands tied Renny gave them what they wanted but directed it in such a way that he could fool them but at the same time could mock the whole project. 

Look when you have a title like this and there are names involved nobody has even heard off you can't expect greatness. From the get go you have to approach this film as a film that will be bad. That way you can't get disappointed only surprised. And say what you will about this film but the action was actually competently directed and very enjoyable to look at. Too bad that those had very little to do with the half god Hercules. There is a reason why people love the character. Both this film and the Dwayne Johnson version get him wrong. But at least this flick will make you laugh. 

Of course I am not going to recommend this. Only I do want to say that this film is not nearly as bad as most people make it out to be. If you happen to catch it on the tube and focus on the action you might will be able to enjoy it. That does require you to skip a lot of boring parts. (oh how I miss those vhs days. You could fast forward to the good bits without losing parts of the plot).


Dale Brown said...

I can't say I was massively impressed by this version of Hercules.

Still better than the one starring WWE's John Morrison though. That one really sucked goat parts.

chrichtonsworld.com said...

I agree on that one sucking big time. I dislike Brett Ratner with a passion. He manages to often take out the fun somehow.




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