REVIEW: The Legend of Hercules (2014)

thelegendofhercules

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2014, Summit Entertainment/Milennium Films/Nu Image/Nu Boyana Entertainment

Director:
Renny Harlin
Producers:
Renny Harlin
Boaz Davidson
Danny Lerner
Gisella Marango
Nikki Stanghetti
Jonathan Yunger
Les Weldon
Writers:
Sean Hood
Guilio Steve
Daniel Giat
Renny Harlin
Cinematography:
Sam McCurdy
Editing:
Vincent Tabaillon

Cast:
Kellan Lutz (Alcides/Hercules)
Gaia Weiss (Hebe)
Scott Adkins (King Amphitryon)
Liam McIntyre (Sotiris)
Liam Garrigan (Iphicles)
Roxanne McKee (Queen Alcmene)
Rade Serbedzija (Chiron)
Jonathon Schaech (Tarak)
Luke Newberry (Agamemnon)

The latest of the stories involving the demigod of strength, Hercules, is given an origins style treatment courtesy of Renny Harlin, whose had his share of hits (Die Hard 2 and The Long Kiss Goodnight) and misses (Cutthroat Island anyone?)

1200 B.C. Argos.  Amphitryon, the King of Tryons, has usurped major power and with each victory in the Greek wars comes a boost of his ego. He has no beliefs in the gods and only wants true power for himself. While he does have a son, Iphicles, Queen Alcmene has grown tired of her husband’s power and ego. Praying to the gods, she meets a prophet who tells her that she will bore another son. However, unlike her eldest son, this young man will be the son of the greatest god known to man, Zeus. The child shall be known as Hercules and when the time comes, he will be the savior against the evil King.

When Hercules is finally born, Amphitryon forces the name of Alcides and vows that due to his thinking that Alcmene had an affair with another man, he will be nothing like Iphicles. Twenty years pass and Alcides is head over heels in love with Hebe, the Queen of Crete. This causes jealousy with Iphicles, who only wants to be with Hebe not just for love but for the power. When Amphitryon learns of Alcides’ love for Hebe, he has Alcides and military officer Sotiris set up to be ambushed and killed. However, they escape and find themselves as gladiators in Egypt. It is there where Alcides will soon learn of his true destiny as the one named Hercules.

Seeing this film, the latest in a series of films that revolve around the demigod Hercules, it had a sort of Scorpion King feel to it, but done pretty decently. Since his tenure with THE TWILIGHT SAGA has come to an end, one can only respect Kellan Lutz when it comes to attempt to star in action films. While many may see him as a romantic lead type (and that’s been done as well), it is refreshing that he wants to give a shot at an action film career.

After appearing in Arena and Java Heat, he takes the central role of Hercules here. In all fairness, he attempts to make the role his own and it isn’t exactly fair to compare him to the likes of say Lou Ferrigno and Kevin Sorbo. As this is supposed to be an original-like tale, Lutz narrowly pulls it off and while the film seems a bit dragging in the middle, it is the pivotal scene where he finally unleashes his fury that really drives the third act of the film.

Hollywood producers take note. It is time to get Scott Adkins an A-list lead role. For the material written, Adkins exceeds the writing and performs brilliantly in the role of the evil King Amphitryon. It seems like with every role he is given, whether lead or supporting, Adkins brings out the best in the role and here, he does quite well. Everyone knows him as the martial arts action star, but with this being set in ancient Greece, do not expect the usual flashiness from Adkins, but more a hard brutal style that fits perfectly with the era of the film.

Liam McIntyre, who replaced the late Andy Whitfield in the finale of Starz’s Spartacus series, brings a sense of heart in the role of Sotiris, who becomes Hercules’ faithful ally and best friend while another Liam, Liam Garrigan plays a sniveling punk in Iphicles. For some reason, seeing Iphicles’ annoyance reminded me of the evil King Joffrey in Game of Thrones. They both tend to have that sneer that just makes one want to puke. As for Gaia Weiss, she is not really seen as a damsel in distress but more like someone who will do anything for her love in the role of love interest Hebe.

The action scenes are nicely done, bringing a combination of slow motion at times, pretty nice visuals (the lightning sword was quite fun to watch), and some hard brutal action.  As mentioned, when Hercules finally comes around, it becomes a scene that made this viewer root for the demigod. The finale, pitting Adkins and Lutz, is not bad, but had a certain Hollywood style of “you hit me, I hit you” approach with a nice twist mixed in. Nevertheless, the overall action for this film was not too bad.

The Legend of Hercules is recommended certainly as a rental. For an origin story, Kellan Lutz does a pretty decent job and Scott Adkins once again shines as a villain. For a B-movie standard, there has been worse than this.

WFG RATING: B-

DVD/BLU-RAY

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