Directed by Brett Ratner
Starring Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian McShane
Review by Jordan
note: this is my first review in about a month since taking a bit of a break, so I hope you enjoy the read, whether you agree or disagree!
NBC’s cult comedy series Community may have sold out a large portion of its creativity in grasping hold of a fourth season, leading to a 5th, but throughout it’s many inspired episodes are scattered nuggets of geek gold, endearing the show despite its downward turn. In a faux flashback episode showcasing moments in which the troubled Abed struggles in social life, he overhears the older, and less pop-culturally savvy Shirley praising the directorial and story-telling prowess of Brett Ratner, having just seen the undoubtedly underwhelming, flat Tower Heist and loving it. His direct response, which he repeats twice for good measure, is succinct and understandable, leaning over and pointing a finger at her and in a neatural tone stating: “you’re a bad person.”
Abed’s response to such flattery of a director responsible for the Rush Hour series, The Family Man and a segment of one of the worst movies of all time, Movie 43, would no doubt mimic that of active film fans the world over, which is why my next statement takes even myself off guard…
Hercules, his latest effort, is actually quite fun.
Sure, it isn’t made with the sure hands of a quality craftsman, being littered with narrative cliches and lacking in the scope it’s story deserved, but when the club is swung, the sword is wielded or the arrows fired in the heat of battle, a rousing aura of entertainment is nevertheless present and is charmingly coupled with a good dose of betrayal and revenge that is always needed in a historical/mythological piece such as this.
John Hurt as Lord Cotys, who purchases the assistance of Hercules and his crew to fight for his kingdom and those surrounding him against an approaching enemy force, appears to be having a bit of fun in his seemingly one-note role, his disheveled demeanor and gravelly voice always being welcome, and serviceable support is also found in the often shaky Ian McShane and Rufus Sewell. The true source of entertainment here however is The Rock himself, Dwayne Johnson, who boasts an almost unfathomable charm and though limited in acting ability remains captivating throughout. This isn’t the first time an otherwise questionable movie has benefited greatly from his presence, with other examples being Welcome to the Jungle (The Rundown), Walking Tall and Southland Tales, which each lift a gear whenever he shoots a frown or allows a smirk. One would imagine he would be a pleasure to work with, and I don’t say that just out of fear of the fact he could break my arm with the flick of his finger.
Will Hercules stand tall as a film for which Brett “The Rat” Ratner will finally score some hard earned respect? No. Respect in this instance can not be achieved so easily. It is however a rollicking adventure with enough bone-crunching battle scenes to keep the inner 13 year old happy, and given its open ending, quite possibly the first in an unlikely, though welcomed (by me anyway) trilogy.