Director: Brett Ratner
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, John Hurt, Joseph Fiennes, Peter Mullan
Plot: The legendary Hercules is called upon by the ruler of Thrace to help stop a ruthless warlord. But there's more to it than meets the eye.
Review: There have been many adaptations of Hercules on screen, but this one is based on the comic book by Steve Moore.
In this film, Hercules has finished conquering the 12 labors put upon him by Hera, and now leads a band of mercenaries for hire. Lord Cotys, the ruler of Thrace, hires Hercules and his men to stop Rhesus, a warlord causing havoc in his country. Something happens along the way and the demi-god realises he must make a choice between fighting for gold or for his conscience.
Brett Ratner isn't exactly an A-list director, but he has a knack for making things entertaining despite the presence of a certain level of silliness. It's fascinating to note that the film doesn't try to be either too bloody or too serious, like other films of its kind such as 300, Troy or Gladiator. But thankfully, it's not as campy as The Scorpion King either, which is a step up for star Dwayne Johnson. It also must be said that even though the production value is a B plus at best, Ratner excels in the action department as he makes both large scale battles and smaller confrontations look good.
Johnson once again plays the lead role well, as he has many times before. While he may not look the part of Hercules that well, he still makes a great leading man and action hero. Rufus Sewell and Ian McShane are also commendable as Hercules' comrades, which is a welcome change from playing villains before this, but special mention goes to Aksel Hennie as Tydeus, Hercules' barbaric comrade who doesn't speak.
The film does suffer from a few much too convenient happenings. Joseph Fiennes is also rather wasted in a key role when he should have gotten more screen time. The film does make up for this with a few dramatic attempts by Johnson, and well thought out by Ratner in terms of execution, especially those regarding Hercules' tragic past.
All in all, Hercules doesn't quite break new ground in the sword and fantasy genre, but it's entertaining for what it is. (3.5/5)