Anyone else like to think that that “Hercules” kid from the “Nutty Professor” grew up to be “The Rock”? “Hercules, Hercules”
“Hercules” is a revisionist take on the old tale of the half mortal son of Zeus, taking us through a world where Hercules was an actual man and showing us the truth behind the legend. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson steps in as the be-muscled man flexing his way to fight for those who most in need of defense, and the infamous Brett Ratner steps in to direct, whose last big movie was the ridiculous action comedy “Tower Heist’. To be honest I haven’t much liked Ratner since the first “Rush Hour” over 15 years ago, so imagine my surprise when I didn’t actually hate this movie.
In fact, I kinda liked it. Now, I’m not saying we will here it’s name during awards season or anything, but it might be a fun flick if you go in understanding what it is. First off, it’s really funny. It has that quirky, wink at the audience, “we both know what kind of movie this is” sensibility, and at the same time, doesn’t overplay it’s silliness so that we aren’t able to buy into the world. It’s an action comedy balance that can be tough to pull off, but I think it works here. Plus I loved that the movie played with the ideas of legend vs truth, and how extraordinary men can live beyond their own mortality. And the action was good. Great effects, great fight choreography, and placed in the movie perfectly to hold our short attention spans captive. Plus, even though the movie kept the story grounded in a human Hercules, Half-God Hercules was still able to show off in some genuinely imaginative story scenes. But not only was it fun to watch, the performances were really good. Ian McShane and John Hurt were wonderful, and Rufus Sewell was a lot of fun as a part of Hercules fighting posse. But the hero, and best thing, has to be “The Rock” who continues to prove he can flex his acting muscles almost as well as his physical ones. Movies like this are made for him. Giving him the freedom to do what he does best. Humor, action, and even a bit of dramatic depth. Nicely done, Mr. Johnson, nicely done indeed.
As far as negatives? Well, there were a few. I think the worst thing is that the plot and story feel a bit forced and clunky at times, showing the seams of a movie that was understandably focused more on the action spectacle then the dramatic payoff, leaving the flick feeling a little light headed and without a point. And of course even as funny as much of the humor is, with its style much of it will still tend to roll the eyes. Also, you might want to know that it seemed a bit violent for me for its PG-13 rating, but that seems to be the trend anymore, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised
At the end of the day, “Hercules” is a movie that delivers almost exactly what it promises. Fun action, a quirky sense of humor, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson playing in a playground made just for him. The half polished story and occasional lazy writing can’t keep this one from flexing its way to a solid B-.