Sunday, November 13, 2016


Welcome to another installment of the TRASH BIN, where we watch the worst movies Hollywood has to offer, according to the critics, and give you our thoughts, good or bad. This week's pick is the less than spectacular epic, THE LEGEND OF HERCULES

The Legend of Hercules, produced by Millennium Films, directed by Renny Harlin and written by Sean Hood, Daniel Giat, Steve Giulio and Renny Harlin had a budget of $70m, and was released into theaters to scathing critical and audience reviews. Reviewers called it things like “Incredibly shallow and underwhelming”; “thoroughly atrocious”; “Incredible waste of several million dollars”. With a total box office draw of $18m, the movie didn’t even come close to breaking even. All that combined is why it’s now under trash bin review.

It seems I can’t watch any Hercules movie without having the theme song for the 1960’s animated TV series The Mighty Hercules playing in my head. So, why does this have anything to do with a trash bin review of the 2014 movie directed by Renny Harlin you ask? 

Well, I’m asking myself the same thing since, The Legend of Hercules didn’t seem to be at all about Hercules, the hero of song and story, who was gifted with the strength of ten ordinary men. Though the character does show some greater physical strength at times in this movie.  

I think the first clue that Harlin was making a Hercules movie in name only was when he told star Kellan Lutz who plays Alcides/Hercules not to worry about being too bulked up for the role. Just make sure his abs ‘popped’ on screen for the 3D effects. Oh, and all the men in the movie had to shave their legs, arms and chests lest the hair ‘pop out’ at viewers too. Sadly, I think that might have added an interesting element to the movie. It needed all the help it could get!

There are some nods to the origin of Hercules or Heracles as he is known in Greek mythology. Like he is the son of the mortal woman Alcheme and the god Zeus and the foster son of King Amphitryon. But out the window went the whole ‘Zeus tricked Alcheme by appearing to her as her husband Amphitryon and the fact that Iphicles and Hercules were fraternal twins with two different fathers. Instead, the audience is treated to Amphitryon as a hateful tyrant who lusts after power and control.  A version of Alcheme who is so bent on having her husband defeated that she agrees to bearing the child of Zeus in hopes that child will one day grow up and kill Amphitryon.

To his credit, actor/martial artist Scott Adkins, who played the role of Amphitryon in The Legend of Hercules, took this ‘re-imagined’ presentation of the character very seriously. Adkins did so by making sure his character had a slightly different physical appearance in the older version than he looked as a younger man in the earlier scenes.  However, not even that could save the character from the constant over the top lines of dialog he was given. Again, to his credit, Adkins delivered these lines with the ferocity of an enraged beast all the while pacing around like a restless predator. It worked well in the movie. I mean if they were going to turn Amphitryon into an evil tyrant to be feared and hated, then what better way to do it than to have an actor with the kind of intimidating physical presence Scott Adkins can bring to role.

This brings me to the star of the film, Kellan Lutz. Yes, his abs did ‘pop out’ on screen in his role as Hercules. Unfortunately, the kind charismatic screen presence needed to carry The Legend of Hercules as the lead actor never popped out to go with it.  Lutz is an alright type of actor in an ensemble piece like Twilight. However, a grand epic type of movie, like The Legend of Hercules was supposed to be, desperately needed a lead actor with more ability to create some type of believability in the role. To me, Lutz just didn’t stand out when he was in scenes with actors who had more to offer in the way of character portrayal.  Liam McIntyre who played the best friend and comrade in arms Sotiris literally overshadowed Kellan Lutz in their scenes together. Sad to say, even the oh-so-fake looking Nemean Lion that Hercules kills with his bare hands was the dominate ‘actor’ in those scenes.

The only other actor in The Legend of Hercules, in my opinion, who had even less screen presence than Kellan Lutz was Gaia Weiss who played Hercules love interest, Princess Hebe.  I think that Weiss truly tried to make the character come to life, but like all the rest of the cast, she was weighed down by terrible dialog. I got the impression she didn’t quite know how to deliver it, which made her character come across as inconsistent and sometimes wooden.

As for that lion, you would think with a $70m budget the studio could have afforded something more realistic looking that didn’t seem like it came straight out of Sid & Marty Croft’s warehouse. Unfortunately, the whole movie was plagued with bad CGI visual effects that gave it a video game look, but not in a good way. In my opinion, the random use of the ‘slo-mo’ effect in fight scenes was a bad choice for this movie. Rather than adding to any dramatic effect, it was just a cheesy looking distraction.  

All of that aside, The Legend of Hercules did have some good moments. The friendship between Hercules and Sotiris added a very human element to what was otherwise just another ‘swords and sandals’ movie.  The family drama and back stabbing gave it an interesting ‘soap opera’ type moments. Also, any movie that starts out with a scene of Scott Adkins wearing a cape and riding a black Frisian horse is at least doing one thing right in my book!


Rotten Tomatoes: 3%
Metacritic: 22
IMDb: 4.2/10
Roger Ebert: 1.5/4


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