Kellan Lutz gets first billing in The Legend of Hercules, but it should probably go to the green screen instead. Looking dark (all the worse with 3D glasses), muddled, and ugly, the film is a total mess from both a story and acting standpoint. Only some unintentional (I think?) humor makes this thing watchable as this is the first of at least two Hercules movies we will be getting this year. It would seem difficult to believe that The Rock’s version will be worse than this one.
Serving as an origin story of sorts, the film begins with Queen Alcmene (McKee) agreeing to become impregnated by the God Zeus in the hopes that the resulting child will bring piece to her land. She is banished by the King (Adkins) after he catches her in the act (keeping in mind she’s having sex with an invisible God), but nine months later Alcides (Lutz) is born. He grows up to become Hercules and falls madly in love with Hebe (Weiss). Problem: Alcides’ brother, Iphicles (Garrigan), is heir to the throne and also in love with her. After Alcides and Hebe are caught trying to flee their land, Hebe is returned and Alcides is sold into slavery. Now pitted against the finest fighters in fights to the death, Hercules must use his strength to survive and get back to Hebe.
One has to wonder what drew once-competent director Renny Harlin to this material. This is a bland story filled with even blander characters. It’s very repetitive (it’s dark, raining, and Hercules is fighting even more people who don’t have a prayer; rinse and repeat) and there’s copious soap-opera level acting going on. Harlin has always had a knack for filming large-scale action set-pieces, but here he leaves it to the computers and eye-deadening 3D to get the job done. The result is a washed-out video game with next to no human interest. Kellan Lutz does fine when he only has to stare, bold-faced, at the camera lens, but when he’s asked to emote it’s a different story. The rest of the cast is suitably amateur and, at times, perhaps in on the joke.
The Legend of Hercules could be the poster child for time-wasting January releases moving forward. It’s difficult to even discern what the appeal is, but if you like choppy action sequences, hammy acting, and are completely bored out of your skull…no, I can’t even recommend it then.
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Length: 99 Minutes
Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense combat action and violence, and for some sensuality.
Theatrical Release: January 10, 2014
Directed by: Renny Harlin
Written by: Renny Harlin & Daniel Giat
Cast: Kellan Lutz, Gaia Weiss, Scott Adkins, Roxanne McKee, Liam Garrigan