What to do with an aging ex-wrestler with sub-minimal acting skills? It’s either the Hulk or Hercules. But first, they dropped the stage name and went with Dwayne Johnson – which means we can expect a lot more movies out of this guy.
I had expected (and hoped) for hero vs. monsters but all the adds were actually illustrations of stories told by his nephew, Iolaus (Reece Ritchie). Instead, the movie tries to be realistic, showing humans behind the myths as a mercenary Hercules leads a band of non-Argonauts in training a bunch of farmers into an army. I liked the attempt at authentic ancient combat. A well trained small force led by Hercules employes formation fighting to slaughter a large horde. A welcome change from the hero and his pals killing everyone in a melee free for all.
At first this Hercules appears to be the tragically flawed character of the myth, with early scenes of him murdering his family. But The Rock, excuse me, “Dwayne” doesn’t do tragically flawed heroes and it’s no spoiler to say it turns out he was framed.
However, Hercules had better acting from the Rock than I expected and strong performances from Ian McShane as the comic/mystic side-kick Amphiaraus and John Hurt as the sneeky-evil Lord Cotys. But I wanted monsters. Hercules, unlike The 300, which had monsters, is a myth. Where were my monsters?!
Which brings us to our question of the week: Would you go see The Hobbit if Smaug was made of paper mache?