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2.8 out of 5 stars
Legend of Hercules [Blu-ray]
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181 of 214 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Hercules has always been a popular subject for movies. So after Greek mythology-themed fantasy movies like "300," "Immortals" and "Clash of the Titans," it's not surprising that Hollywood would dredge him up again.

Unfortunately, they cast the meathead from "Twilight" as Hercules. And the terrible casting is only one of the problems in "The Legend of Hercules" -- it feels like a cheap TV movie version of an actual blockbuster movie, with claustrophobic sets, random eruptions of slow-mo and uber-cheesy dialogue. Even worse, it cribs from the earlier Grecian myth movies while lacking even a shred of their style.

Repelled by her power-hungry husband King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), Queen Alcmene (Roxanne McKee) makes a deal with the goddess Hera: Zeus will have sex with her, and she will have a son named Hercules who will destroy Amphitryon. Yeah, because Hera was always okay with her husband boinking human women. Amphitryon, suspecting the baby isn't his, names him Alcides.

Two decades later, Alcides/Hercules (Kellan Lutz) is in love with Princess Hebe (Gaia Weiss), but she's betrothed to his wimpy brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan). They try and fail to run away together, and Amphitryon punishes Alcides/Hercules by sending him off on an undermanned mission.

Of course, the undermanned mission gets slaughtered, except for Hercules and his buddy Captain Sotiris (Liam McIntyre), and they are quickly sold into slavery as gladiators... because yeah, they had LOTS of those in ancient pre-Romanic Egypt. Hercules' superhuman strength allows him to free himself and Sotiris, but he must somehow seize his father's kingdom before his brother weds Hebe... or something like that.

"The Legend of Hercules" really feels like a TV movie knockoff of a blockbuster movie, or maybe a halfhearted TV pilot. It certainly doesn't feel like a movie with seventy million dollars behind it -- everything feels very cheap and lackluster, especially since they apparently have no sets larger than my living room, and the special effects are mostly confined to bad lightning flashes.

Of course, director Renny Harlin doesn't help matters. After all, this is the guy who gave us movies like "The Covenant," "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4," "Cutthroat Island" and "Exorcist: The Beginning," so he directs like an amateur who has just figured out the mechanics of film.

For instance, the movie has random bursts of slow-motion -- not the climactic parts of fights, but horses leaping over logs or Hercules tossing a dead body away. It's like Harlin keeps dozing off and accidentally pushing the "slo-mo" button. He also rather blatantly copies the defiant-demigod-who-doesn't-believe-in-the-gods-because-they're-mean-until-he-totally-needs-their-help dynamic that was forefront in "Clash of the Titans" and "Immortals," which comes across as hollow and simplistic.

Admittedly some of the "Gladiator"-lite action scenes are decent, but the movie falls into lurching lethargy as soon as they stop. Both fights and romantic scenes are wooden enough to give you splinters, and the dialogue is the sort of tin-eared kitschy cheez that you would expect of... well, whatever the ancient Greeks had instead of chick-flicks ("In my mind's eye, where your face has been etched since the first day I saw you").

And Kellan Lutz... oh, Kellan Lutz. He speaks with the charisma of a dead seal and the intensity of a constipation victim. He looks like he's straining his acting talents whenever he's forced to speak more than five words in a row, and you can practically hear the wind whistling between his ears when he tries to be righteously outraged. This role needed a Chris Hemsworth, and instead we got an Emmett Cullen.

Most of the other actors are either blandly generic (Weiss), two-dimensional (Garrigan) or engaging in frothing scenery-chewing (Adkins, who seems to be channeling Nicolas Cage). The mighty and passionate goddess Hera is turned into a whining, crying wimp. The only person who gives a semi-decent performance is Liam McIntyre, who easily outshines Lutz.

"The Legend of Hercules" leaves you pining for Kevin Sorbo or longing for The Rock -- a cheap-looking, inept disaster of a film that fails in basically every way. Only watch it if you've already bought the Rifftrax.
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73 of 87 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2014
Format: Blu-ray
Before I get into the mess that makes this movie so dang terrible, I have to give it credit for one thing; it made me laugh. I do not believe I have ever laughed so hard in an action movie before this film, or for such a random reason. The sword fights, which have the whole "look how powerful we are swinging these weapons around" vibe and sound effects, often hit the floor and just sort of stop and wobble. It's also worth a laugh when you first see the Nemean lion. I mean, just look at the truly awful CG lion. I doubt that you would believe that the budget for this film was $70 million after seeing it.

Unfortunately, that is where the fun really ends. There is no Hercules mythology present in this film at all. In fact, I wonder why the film is even called the Legend of Hercules, considering all the borrowed myths and legends from other sources. Let me give you a few examples; at one point, Hercules brings down two pillars that he was chained to after praying to the Greek god Zeus. A few minutes after this, he summons lightning from his sword to become an electrical whip to use against his enemies. These sounds awfully close to the Biblical Samson legend and the Norse god Thor's lightning ability. In fact, Hercules only rarely (and by rarely, I mean like three times in the entire film) demonstrates his legendary strength. Hercules also apparently is not a mortal enemy of the goddess Hera, despite all mythology saying otherwise. I realize that the director can take some artistic liberties in their film, but to call this the "Legend of Hercules" and then use nothing from the Hercules myths...that's just wrong. In the end, you'll just be left with a bad taste in your mouth if you watch this film with the hopes that it will be a good Hercules film.
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63 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on January 23, 2014
Format: Blu-ray
Legend of Hercules hit certain marks of what I was looking for before going in to see it.
1. Does it have Action? Yes. And lots of it. The action scenes clearly take heavy inspiration from 300's slow motion effect, so if you like that, the only thing missing here is the blood, as this is a safe PG 13.
2. Does it have a story of some kind that is understandable with interesting characters? Done. Is it great? That depends on what you compare it to. Honestly, the story could use refinement, but this movie is about the action first.
3. Some scenes showing Hercules' trademark strength? Yes. Just watch the final act and a lot of the fights.

If you can look past the simple, familiar plot and just enjoy the action, this movie is worth a look. The 3D effects are outstanding with lots of stuff popping out and a cool sense of depth.

Action Scenes:
Intro Sword Fight and War.
Fight against a (comical Computerized) Lion.
Fight against a small army of archers in a cave.
Fight in a big arena with a pit with rocks and two fighters (Hercules and Spartacus) against some bad guys.
Fight against 6 warriors versus Hercules. Guess who wins?
Fight against some village goons using a pair of stones.
Fight against an army with an electrical sword.
Fight against the main bad guy King to save the princess.

Scenery: Good scenery.
Cinematography: Good.
Acting: Beginner actors, among one or two accomplished actors. Could have been better.
Story: Not brain science; about rescuing a princess and stopping an evil King and brother.
Does it make sense? There are some errors and comical sequences, but it still makes sense most of the time.
3D: Outstanding.
Action: Fun and easy to watch. Best parts of the movie and the reason to see it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
It's weird I know they hired about 10 VFX companies to work on this movie but you wouldn't know it. Who ever did the landscapes and the 3d modeling from above did a fine job but the actually effects were really weak. the fight scenes were okay but the slow motion in battle thing got old 2 minutes after 300, people have to stop doing that. The story is ok (but its an old one), but there is really nothing to the performance that really makes you recommend this to another human being. The performances were, eh. and you definitely don't feel any connection with the characters. I was seriously wondering whether what I watch was produced by lions gate or history channel.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Nothing deep but certainly fun. The plot is simple, the effects are watchable and the movie doesn't really try to take itself to seriously. If you can just sit back, turn off your cynicism and enjoy a fun popcorn flick this isn't a bad choice. On a side note it is nice to see a casting choice for Hercules that at least fits the part physically. He may not have much in the way of acting chops but he does look like just the kind of beefy Greek boy I would expect Hercules to be.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
Not a compelling story. I found the LOTR trilogy about 2-stars too, but that was a decade before this movie was made and had ground breaking effects.

Lots of action.
Lots of CG effects.
The movie simply didn't hold my attention - besides the gladiator-like fights inside different arenas.

Not so bad that I want my time back, but I'm glad someone else rented the DVD.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2014
Format: Blu-ray
"Embrace your father and you will unlock powers you have never imagined." King Amphitryon (Adkins) has become power hungry and is oppressing his people. Wanting to end his rule and restore peace his wife decides to give in to Zeus and give him a son they name Hercules (Lutz). Not knowing his identity or destiny he lives a normal life. After the King announces a wedding between his son and the woman Hercules is in love with Hercules is sent off to fight a battle that is doomed to fail and kill all involved. After surviving and learning the truth about his life he vows to return to his home and fulfill his destiny. I will open by saying that I have never been a big fan of these types of movies. That said, even if I was a fan I don't think I would have liked this movie anymore then I did. This is really nothing more then a mix of every movie of this genre thrown together into one big generic mess. It really felt like a spoof type movie where 20 different movies are combined to make one new one, but this was without the comedy. The biggest problem I had with this movie though is that to keep the PG-13 rating they had to sacrifice some things...like blood. When you see a 5 minute fight scene that looks really brutal and you see the person die dramatically then you see the body and it looks like nothing happened at all the effectiveness of the scene is lost. Again though I am not a fan of this type of movie so if you may like it if you are a fan of 300, Conan, Immortals, The Eagle, etc...you may like this as well. Overall, hard for me to get into. Nothing more then a generic version of every movie of this genre. I give this a C+.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2014
Format: DVD
A friend and I rented this the other night because we were looking for a cheesy action flick, and we were not disappointed. I am reminded of a phrase that I read in a Rolling Stone review years ago that described someone’s acting as “so wooden you would have to edit it with a chainsaw”. That phrase could be applied to much of the acting in this movie, particularly by Kellan Lutz and Gaia Weiss (Liam McIntyre would be a notable exception to this; he did a good job with a poorly written part). Lutz really needs to learn how to move his facial muscles because the bland stoic pretty-boy look really doesn’t work for most scenes.

The plot? Well, the names of three of the characters--five if you count the Nimean Lion and Hera as characters--come from the common Hercules mythology, but other than that, the writers have taken great liberties and concocted a new story completely. Which wouldn’t be bad if the story were good. But it’s not. And the action is a combination of CGI, wire work (perhaps), and weird stop-motion almost-cartoonish action similar to that seen in the movie 300 (which was an excellent movie). Really, old-fashioned clay-mation (think the original Clash of the Titans) would have fit the tone of the movie better.

That said, if you’re into silly movies, this is the one for you! We got it from a Redbox so we were only out $1.20 for it, which is just about right.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 15, 2014
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I happen to be a lover of GOOD movies about ancient Greece, Rome and the accompanying legends I myths. Unfortunately this is
not one of them. And the title is wrong: his name is HERACLES, not Hercules; Hercules is the god-mans Roman name. Anyhow,
there is no legend in this film except as to how Herk was born. Zeus indeed is his father though Hera was not too pleased with his
fooling around with the Greek chickeepoos, but hey, when you are MR BIG or the BOSS. who is going to argue with you.
The sets are quite good including the Lions Gate, Photography good, the architecture faithful for the time period, and the costumes
accurate though the Greek men did not wear Togas. The cast is ok though I did not think the princess was very pretty; Herks brother
was cuter and I am not gay. The original tales of Herk was not present in the film and the story seemed to be based more on
GLADIATOR than the classic myths. And the Greeks did not like or engage in gladiatorial games like the Romans until late in
the 3rd Century AD. They did however engage in some very rough sporting games, such as boxing with hard leather gloves.
Still, the film is kind of fun, but I did not like the slow motion inserts. like when Herk was swinging those paper mache boulders
all over the place. I only gave it two stars because of the weak story; the cheap Steve Reeves films had better stories. I liked the
man who played Herk; he certainly looked "Herky". And the Special Effects were effective. Though the battles seemed to be
inspired by "300" style of direction, the noticeable lack of blood suggests this film was being geared more for the youth than
the adults. Hey, come on, I love sword and sandal stuff, especially with all garbage coming out of the other studios. It is refreshing
to me to see goodness and niceness win over EVIL. Take that, Max. Smart. But put more thought into the story, producers, if
you make any sequels. I got this like all my other DVDs from Amazon.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 2, 2014
Format: Blu-ray
Well i just finished Hercules 3D last night and i must admit i went into this movie with low expectations. To be honest it wasn't a bad movie at all. If you are looking for a very accurate story of Hercules then you will be disappointed. If you want a decent fantasy/Spartacus style movie with good 3d. You have come to the right place!!!

As said above the story plays out like the stars TV series of Spartacus just not even remotely as gory. Now for the part I'm sure some of you really want to know about....the 3D!!!!! The 3D in this movie is easily hands down the best 3D i have ever seen with this style of movie. Comparing it to the immortals,clash and wrath of the titans and Pompeii. There were tons of pop out in this movie. The opening scene has lots and lots of arrows coming at you so well it makes that spear scene from star trek 2 look like amateur hour.Tons of scenes with raining ash and other things like dirt and dust just seem to sooth it's way from in screen right into your home...Bravo!!!! The depth was fantastic from long shots of the sea to up scaling castles and when they go into the forest you really get the feeling you are hiding behind a tree and watching it happen first hand.

If you want an accurate tale of Hercules you are looking in the wrong place. But if you want a fun fantasy/Spartacus style movie with really good 3D you really cant go wrong with Hercules 3D.
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