Movie Review: Hercules (2014 – Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson)

Dwayne Johnson The Rock as Hercules 2014 movie still

“The Rock” as the anti-fantasy version of Hercules is surprisingly more than watchable

An anti-fantasy twist to the classical Greek mythology’s divine hero for the first time ever in Hercules film and TV adaptations. Very unexpected, I have to say, and if I didn’t watch this, I would had continue to think that Disney’s forgettable Hercules (1997) was close to being faithful to the origins but I guess I should’ve known better. Anyway, I did not regret spending my time and money watching this on a day I literally had nothing better to do.

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The story in this one takes place in Thrace instead of Greece, where Hercules is the leader of a small group of mercenaries who has a dark past and now fights mainly for gold instead of for honour in hopes that he could soon retire in a quiet place where no one could ever find him. He is feared by many thanks to his storytelling nephew Iolaus (Reece Ritchie) who tells the myths of his uncle to everyone he comes across, making everyone believe he’s the son of god Zeus and has gone through the legendary Twelve Labours. One day, he is offered a job to train Thrace’s small army of farmers and lead them to battle against a warlord that is rumoured to have magical powers with a large army of half-man-half-horse centaurs fighting for him.

Let me just start by saying that The Rock delivered. Dwayne Johnson was the perfect choice for this version of the titular legend. He may not be fantastic in emotional scenes, but he does have the body, charm and screen presence for the role. In fact, appearance wise, he’s probably the best of among Hercules film and TV adaptations. While female audience wet their panties watching The Rock, there’s also a sexy female character as eye candy for the guys. Norwegian actress Ingrid Bolsø Berdal plays the virgin huntress Atalanta, an archer in mini skirt but with black knickers inside. Were there really mini skirts and knickers back then? Never mind, I’m not complaining.

The Rock Dwayne Johnson as Hercules 2014 meme movie still

In overall, this second Hercules film adaptation of 2014 is a fun old-skool adventure flick that audience could just sit back, switch off their brains and just enjoy the action and surprisingly funny humour. What surprises me the most was that the film actually takes time to develop the premise and characters at the beginning, something that most mainstream garbage do not do well or do not do at all.

It does have some really dumb sequences, unfortunately, like during the first army battle against the local zombie-like barbarians. Outnumbered and almost being completely slaughtered, Hercules and his comrades suddenly decide to bring out their horses that are attached with carts that have blades on each wheel to slice their enemies. They probably could’ve won without losing so many soldiers if they used it earlier. There’s also no indication of where they kept it and how they could just bring it out immediately out of nowhere as though they had Doraemon’s magical pocket. And in the final third of the movie, it’s as cliched and corny as hell. However, for a film which audience aren’t expected to be too serious about, it’s forgivable.

LOL stupid face Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as Atalanta in Hercules 2014 meme movie still

What I would’ve named the film: “How Myths Become Religions”

Censorship in Malaysia: A few noticeable brief skips, overly violent or gory images, I assume. Maybe a bit of nudity as well?

Second opinion: My friend agreed that it’s not as bad as we were expecting.

Verdict: Enjoyable popcorn flick. Good to kill time with if you had nothing better to do.

Rating: 3 / 5

Hercules 2014 the rock movie posterBased on: Steve Moore’s graphic novel “Hercules: The Thracian Wars”

Genre: Action adventure
Running Time: 98 minutes
Director: Brett Ratner
Screenwriter: Ryan J. Condal, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell

Malaysia Release Date: July 24th 2014
Rated: P13
Local Distributor: United International Pictures (UIP) Malaysia
Production: Flynn Picture Company, Radical Studios

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