The legend of Hercules is as timeless as it is popular and has spawned numerous incarnations over the years. As a matter of fact, Hercules is already the second film this year about the famed son of Zeus. While the widely panned The Legend of Hercules focused on mythical nature of the hero, Hercules tones it down by focusing more on the man rather than the legend.
That man is Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and if there’s any mortal worthy of the name Hercules it’s him. He was born to play this role and it shows.
Hercules (Johnson) works as a mercenary for whoever will play him and his close-knit group of skilled soldiers the most. His name has become legend across the kingdoms as people believe he is the son of the god Zeus. His triumphs over the Twelve Labours has only solidified his god-like status among citizens and soldiers alike and make him one of the most fearsome warriors. His status is put to the ultimate test when his is hired by Thrace’s king, Cotys (John Hurt), to protect the city from a powerful warlord who is said to use sorcery to win his battles.
While the character has been done to death in media, what sets Hercules apart from the rest is that the film portrays Hercules as nothing more than a man, albeit an extremely powerful and fearsome man. The whole legend of Hercules is something that is used to scare his foes. In reality, Hercules relies on the teamwork and skill of his companions to win.
He is joined by the expect dagger thrower Autolycus (Rufus Sewell), the skilled archer Atalanta (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal), the Wildman Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), the soothsayer Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), and his nephew, the storyteller Iolaus (Reece Ritchie). Together they all keep up the appearance that Hercules is more god than man.
Hercules is pure entertainment at its finest. The story isn’t that complex or interesting, and it’s mainly there just to keep the action moving forward. The Rock is one of the most entertaining action heroes in film, and he absolutely commits to Hercules. Whether he’s throwing people 20 feet into the air or flipping horses (yes, I said horses), there’s always something spectacular happening with him on screen.
The film does drag on somewhat towards the end, however, and the 93 minute runtime feels more like two hours. Hercules is one of those films that you can go and turn your brain off for a couple of hours and sit back and enjoy. There’s nothing too complicated about it. Hercules delivers plenty of action befitting of the legend.