Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock dons the leather for this outing of the eponymous half human half god saga. The movie is directed by the infamous Brett Ratner who seemed to get himself into a lot of trouble after X-Men 3. Directing one of the sketches in Movie 43 probably didn’t help. Hercules is joined by a rag tag bunch of misfits from around the ancient world which includes Ian McShane as a type of fortune teller (perhaps a bit unfair) called Amphiaraus, who spends much of the movie drinking brews made from exotic herbs.
Hercules is presented as a mercenary who travels the land with his gang much like The A-Team tidying up messes on behalf of great-full clients who compensate them appropriately. It quickly becomes clear that the legend of Hercules is a bit of a PR job and he even has a story teller, Iolaus, played by Reece Ritchie to act as spin doctor. He is approached in a bar by the beautiful Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson), daughter of the ruler of Thrace played by John Hurt, to deliver her people from an evil tyrant.
Mr Johnson, The Rock, is a pleasant surprise in the lead role and while his range is limited he does the action star well and at times even showed some emotion on cue. Ian McShane was suitably sardonic and Rufus Sewell as Hercules right hand man, Autolycus, provides a solid screen presence although he exhibits a modern day sentiment / outlook not necessarily suitable for the period. There is one very dynamic action set piece about half way through which had some scary bad guys but it felt like a long 100 minutes. John Hurt appears to have a lot of fun hamming it up towards the conclusion of the movie.
Ultimately for me the movie was too much like an end of season TV finale. Some of the special effects weren’t quite top end and the overall tone of the movie was a little Xena: Warrior Princess / Kevin Sorbo Hercules. There was next to no character development and the twelve labours, which would have been an interesting journey, were quickly brushed over to get to the fighting and the occasional swearing, remembering to use the f word just the once to get the 12A rating. In fact the rule appears to be you can use every swear word once and its ok.
By no means the worst movie this year but no where near the best either. Sadly sits in the middle and will be quickly forgotten. The A-Team in leather armour.