Film Review: Hercules

Hercules

Brett Ratner’s version of Hercules is an amusing action romp that distinguishes itself from previous versions of the myth.

Hercules has built up a fierce reputation by completing the legendary twelve labours. Hercules and his team of warriors are sought out by the King of Thrace, who requires help to defend his land and his people…

The most striking aspect of Hercules is how the film takes a well-known mythological character and places him in a plausible environment. Unlike previous version of the myth, Brett Ratner’s film eschews the fantastical elements of the Hercules story, positing him instead as a character that could have actually existed.

Based on Steve Moore’s graphic novel, Hercules offers a revisionist account of the myth. The supernatural aspects of his quests are explained in a plausible fashion, whilst even the protagonist himself makes light of some of the more exaggerated aspects of his feats. In this way, Hercules offers something different to previous cinematic adaptations.

The film follows fairly conventional action adventure tropes in terms of narrative and characters. The vein of humour that runs through the film is most welcome; this is a version of Hercules that can laugh at itself, to a certain extent. The comedy is a good fit for this non-supernatural account. Nevertheless, when the film makes attempts at gravitas, it can feel a little hollow.

Action in the film is good. Many of the scenes rely on the physicality of the actors, and in this respect Hercules is well cast. The set pieces are well executed in terms of scale, although some of the effects look less authentic. Dwayne Johnson makes a likeable hero, whilst John Hurt brings some gravity as Lord Cotys.

Hercules is perhaps not a definitive version of the myth. Although the film may not be as memorable as the legend itself, it is nevertheless an entertaining watch.