The Legend of Hercules (2014) Movie Review “A Horrible Attempt at Filmmaking”

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So we have a new year and two Hercules to look forward too. One that stars Dwayne “the rock” Johnson and directed by the much “loved” Brett Ratner coming out this July. Then there is this one, here in January starring “Twilight” actor Kellan Lutz and directed by “Die Hard 2” director, Renny Harlin. It’s not the first time we’ve two similar themed movies coming out in the same year. All I have to say is, let’s hope the other one will be better. I try to be as kind to a movie as possible but this movie is beyond bad. This has some of the worst examples of modern special effects and costume design that I have seen in a theatrical released film in long time. This features horrible acting, terrible action, poor script writing and atrocious directing, this movie feels like a movie that should have gone direct to Blu-Ray but someone manage to make it to theaters to all of our horrors.

“Legend of Hercules” is an origin story of how Hercules became the legend we’ve all heard today. Betrayed by his stepfather after he has fallen in love with his step-brother’s betrothed. Hercules is sold into slavery as he vows to free himself and rid his stepfather and free the kingdom of his oppressive rule.

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I was actually rooting for this “Hercules” movie going into this. Simply because the one coming out later this year has the big star everyone loves and much higher production values, I was hoping to see this one to be a solid film one that could compare quality wise to the later “Hercules” film simply because it is the “underdog”. But sadly I cannot defend this movie in the least.

The story is simple enough. It’s a classic and timeless formula. Forbidden love, the evil step-father all stuff that we’ve seen before but fits within the context of this story since this is a Greek Legend. As far as plot, you can fault the film, the groundwork the movie set up isn’t the worst in the world. The problem is in the execution of this story where the film falls fault. It rushes through everything, quickly trying to establish everything from laughable exposition dialogue. The pacing is all over the place, we jump from one thing to the next and that made it hard for me to get emotionally interested.

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This whole story is predicated on relationships between characters that are suppose to drive the story. The relationships become barley defined. There is the evil step father who hates his son because he thinks someone was in his wife’s bed,( when clearly no one was). Then there is the jealous and inferior step brother that was seemed to be written after the writers just got finished watching a “Thor” movie. The love between Hercules and his step brother’s betrothed. Hercules relationship with the people around him too. There are all of these relationships that all come head to head at the final moments of the film and then………I felt no emotion. When the whole story is built on the relationship of these characters and the final battle you’re supposed to feel the emotions of these different relationships clash together……and then you feel nothing, well then the movie’s storytelling has failed.

The film is directed by “Die Hard 2” director Renny Harlin. “Die Hard 2” may have been one of the weaker sequels in the series but it was never the less fun, exciting and solid. The action was well shot and the director provided consistent thrills. I fail to see how this is the same director.

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This film screams first time director and “300” knockoff. The overdone greenscreen effects (that look painfully bad here) and slow motion battle sequences all here scream “300”, except not nearly as well done. The fights go by quick but they are always interrupted by some slo-mo for no reason. It doesn’t add anything to the fights instead it just makes it more like a knockoff. I’ve seen better greenscreen on youtube videos. The choices he makes as a filmmaker for this movie comes off like a child yelling for attention. Like how in a long hallway there is big white curtains flying the wind (sometimes in slow motion) trying to look artsy but instead screams “look how stylistic my movie is”. Again I fail to understand how these two films were made by the same person.

I mentioned the bad green screen effects before but it doesn’t end there, all of the effects are horrible. TV shows have had better background CGI then this film has had. There is a shot where someone falls from a waterfall and it looks so painfully bad. Then there is the fabled lion that Hercules kills. The lion looks as bad as Aslan from the old BBC “Chronicles of Narnia” made for TV movies. According to Box Office Mojo this film had a production budget of 70 million dollars and none of it seems to have been put to good use. All of the VFX shots are horrible for a major Hollywood release. “District 9” only had a production budget of 30 million and the special effects are incredible in that. The filmmakers must have lost their wallets because I don’t see where any of the money was put towards.

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This isn’t something that I usually comment on but here I will make an exception. The costumes used in the film look like they came out of a bad ferity party. Seriously look at the costumes. They look so damn cheap. They are bright and shiny because apparently they had Oxiclean back in Ancient Greece. TMy teacher skipped that chapter in my history class.

They acting does not fair any better. Kellan Lutz has the physicality and the likeability for the role of Hercules but forget that he has to act. He delivers cringe worthy dialogue in a cringe worthy fashion. I see some potential in his future, especially since he will be in the upcoming “Expendables 3”. Which isn’t a good showcase for his acting skills but then again nether is this because everyone is equally bad. Gaia Weiss is annoying and has no chemistry with her co-star. Scott Adkins plays the evil step father. He yells about every line he has. I wonder if Adkins came up to the director, asking for some direction on how to act out a certain line he had, if the director just said, “it doesn’t matter just yell the line”. Liam Garrigan does a bad impression of Tom Hiddleson as the evil step brother of Hercules.

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I really shouldn’t have spend so much time talking about such an exceptionally poor film like this for so long, but there was so many reasons why it was poor I tried to hit all of them for the most part. This is only January but I can’t imagine there be many worse films than this in the rest of the year. I can only entertain the idea that this will probably end up somewhere on my Top 10 worst by the end of this year. This film was that bad.

Final Score

1.5/10

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