Brett Ratner‘s Hercules is this summer’s most mindless, yet entertaining popcorn flick without a doubt. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson absolutely kills it, playing the titular Hercules with his usual bravado, while also adding a dose of pure physicality to boot. Hercules may not be the smartest or even the most creative blockbuster to come out this summer, but it definitely makes the best of what it has and what it has is a charismatic star and a director with a vision for simple action and adventure.
Hercules follows the titular hero (played with brute force and slight hilarity by Dwayne Johnson) as he travels wherever the money is, acting mostly as a gun-for-hire mercenary. The legends of his God-like roots are still told, but Hercules mostly plays on them in an almost magical way, hoping that his all-powerful name helps him earn a bigger payday. He’s mostly just pissed off and out for blood after the murdering of his family and now he wants nothing more than to kill and move on without much connection with the rest of the world.
And this is exactly why Brett Ratner‘s Hercules excels above and beyond past interpretations of the character. Ratner wisely plays on the comedic bits that Johnson sells without a problem, while also displaying Johnson’s pure force as a beast of a man. The action is big and bad ass, if not mostly reliant on practical effects, while the slower moments are never wasted and mostly given to Johnson to crack jokes at his own characters myth.
This helps Hercules feel like a breeze to watch and yet not something entirely wasteful. There’s a fine story buried beneath the light jokes that push the film’s running time on with ease and there’s also some weight to the film’s many action sequences, which aren’t ever too grand, but still a blast to watch.
Ratner’s use of the 3D is hit or miss, with most of the gimmicky shots providing nothing more than a few “oohs” and “ahhhs”, while the rest of the film’s quieter moments get by just fine in plain old 2D.
But still, there’s a certain feel to Hercules that keeps it light, innocent and mostly fun, if not occasionally eye-rolling silly and sometimes a little too hokey for those looking for something a little more serious.
But that’s perfectly fine, because the trailers sold nothing but a dead serious, ass-kicking Hercules, while the actual product is still an ass-kicking Hercules, but one with a great sense of humor and an understanding of how to balance legends and reality.
Hercules might not have a lot of brains on it, but Dwayne Johnson‘s leading performance definitely keeps it from being completely brainless. Most shrugged at the idea of Brett Ratner directing the film, heck, I did a little too, but the end result does nothing but help his somewhat tarnished name.
Hercules may not be his finest film yet or even one of Johnson’s better solo outings, but it runs smoothly with something like The Scorpion King, which I thought was a good bit of fun.
It’s quick, painless and filled with enough even amounts of action and comedy to keep most occupied during its rather brief running time. Hercules may not be the movie that you end up talking about next week or even tomorrow, but it’s something that showcases Johnson’s ability to carry a film without a single problem, perfectly blending his on-screen energy as one of this generation’s biggest and most entertaining action stars without a doubt.
Hercules – 7.5/10