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Hercules tells the story of the legendary mercenary Hercules (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson).  After completing his 12 feats, which have become more myth than fact, Hercules and his legendary band of mercenaries have been hired to help the kingdom of Thrace end a civil war.  Haunted by the death of his family and his apparent hand in their demise, he hopes that this will be his last job before he can go live out the rest of his days in peace and solitude.  However, after their apparent victory, things don’t seem to be quite as they seem and they might have just been fighting on the wrong side this entire time.

Hercules is a solid film, it’s not going to win any awards and isn’t a masterpiece of film making.  It is simply a fun popcorn film to kick back and enjoy.  What largely hinders this film is the implementation of it’s plot and various subplots.  The main plot was fine in terms of structure, it simply dragged along for the first half.  The film opens up with what boils down to Hercules and his band of mercenaries kicking ass and taking names.  From there we get a training montage, some back story that comes in multiple parts, and a couple battles.  What makes it drag for the most part is the multiple spots of back story.  Instead of giving it to us all in one go, which would be the most efficient delivery and would allow for more action sequences.  Not to mention that the majority of the subplots are either poorly executed or awkwardly resolved.  I won’t go into too much detail but essentially, by removing a few subplots or by smoothing them out a bit, the first half of the film would have been much better and more entertaining.

The last half of the film is much better and is far more entertaining.  There are fewer subplots and the action really takes center stage.  Not only that but the balance between humor and action is perfect.  It turns the film into just a fun ride.  You get to see Dwayne bust some skulls with the other mercenaries while cracking jokes.  If the first half of this film was like the second half, it would have been a home run.  Unfortunately that just wasn’t the case.  Thankfully, there was an awesome cast that helped smooth out the rough bits.  With the big man himself, Dwayne Johnson dominating the screen both physically and in terms of acting, the rest of the cast wasn’t left too far behind.  However, Rufus Sewell, who plays Hercules best friend, Autoclycus, nearly steals the show.  You might recognize him from his portrayal of the villain from A Knights Tale.  He by far has the best delivery and has some of the most memorable lines.  Plus, his character is the cool rogue of the group and who doesn’t love that character.  The rest of the mercenary cast, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Aksel Hennie, Reece Ritchie, and Ian McShane, all do a great job and have very good chemistry with each character adding a little more to the pot.  Honestly, you get the feeling that these actors have been great friends for awhile and they just decided to be in a movie together.  Regardless, this cast really helps to cover up the weaknesses of the plot structure and strengthens the film over all.

All in all, Hercules is a fun film to just sit back with some popcorn and enjoy yourself.  It doesn’t knock anything out of the park but is just a solid film to enjoy with some friends, especially if you are a fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

My Rating: 6.5/10

Peter Orrestad - Jul 28, 2014 | Movie Reviews
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