By Melissa Platero, CCNN Writer
Hercules is unsheathing its mighty blade at the theaters this week, as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson busts out some epic action-fighting skills. The movie has awesome special effects, a down-to-Earth and intriguingly dark Hercules haunted by his past, and delivers great summer blockbuster suspense.
Unlike the classic mythological version of Hercules, where he’s the son of Zeus and battles all kinds of supernatural monsters like the multi-headed hydra and the massive Nemean lion, this film features a very human, sword-for-hire Hercules who spreads legendary rumors about his battles, that aren’t really based in fact! Of course, this spooks the heck out of his enemies, giving Hercules and his mercenary buddies an advantage in battle.
The Rock is his usual handsome, tough-as-nails, rockstar self in the movie, delivering one-liners and macho talk with legendary cheesiness. I mean, this movie feels like a throwback to the 80s with its unapologetic focus on satisfying action, over-the-top villains, cartoonish good guys, and sword-swinging fun. However, rather than being the awful kind of cheapness that the Transformers movies deliver, Hercules pulls off the old school entertainment with style, confidence, and surprisingly solid acting.
While the award for biggest on-screen charm (and muscles) goes to The Rock, Ian McShane deserves a shoutout for his hilariously campy Amphiarus character, a warrior-priest-prophet who keeps inaccurately predicting his own death. If anyone other than Johnson and McShane were delivering this dialogue, it’d be awful, but director Brett Ratner knows exactly how to tie it all together in a perfectly executed package. Our final verdict? We give this high-budget, B-movie adventure an “A”.
Images courtesy of Paramount Pictures.