HollywoodChicago.com RSS   Facebook   HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter   Free Giveaway E-mail   

Blu-ray Review: Dwayne Johnson’s Ferociously Generic Warrior Tale ‘Hercules’

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 3 (3 votes)

CHICAGO – Dwayne Johnson slams and jams in the bland “Hercules,” the “Space Jam” he never made when known as a brow-raised wrestler under his birth name “The Rock.” This ferociously generic take on the mythological hero focuses on Hercules with a group of mercenaries (played by Rufus Sewell among others) as they train a group of gee-shucks farmers to become warriors, while they project legends of immortality onto Johnson’s secretly mortal hero.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-ray rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

Instead of being fun with the overall effect of a Whitesnake guitar solo, the movie is a big yawn woken up temporarily by an amusing kick or punch. Directed with definitive indifference by Brett Ratner, “Hercules” is a heavily manufactured period action movie more than a potentially lightly amusing one, even from its lead actor who can regularly chew on goofy machismo and earn those comparisons of being the next Schwarzenegger. Johnson is this vehicle’s main spectacle, providing sporadic tiny giggles when he lifts and then throws something that is indeed very heavy, or kills someone by punching them. But the weight itself of a narrative on an overly serious take on the character (he’s human, just like us!) prevents him from the simpler cheesy glories.

“Hercules” is unashamed in its plainness, its construction likely influenced in some part by the success of Marvel’s “Thor” movies. Like Chris Hemsworth’s Marvel space viking, this version of Hercules is surrounded by fellow forgettable warriors that only take away Johnson’s camera time and presence, and are cleanly divided by obvious traits (one of them, as cartoonist Tim Nagoda would designate, is “The Girl.”) The action of “Hercules” can be reminiscent of the dullest scenes in “Thor,” regarding those moments when blondie and his buddies are fighting random, disposable beings from another planet.

To honor this movie’s hope for junky nostalgia, I tried to view this film as it was probably meant to be home theater-wise, with greasy pizza and low expectations in hand. The results were still disappointing. It turns out some nostalgia can be outdated. Or, in this case, it’s in desperate need of rejuvenation from a story that doesn’t take its silliness so seriously.

“Hercules” was released on Blu-ray on November 4, 2014
Photo credit: Paramount Pictures

Based on the Radical comic “Hercules” by Steve Moore, this version has the mythic hero (played by Dwayne Johnson) dealing with his status as neither god nor man. With his crew of six other mercenaries, he trains men in the Kingdom of Thrace to become warriors just like him.

Special Features for “Hercules”
o Commentary by director Brett Ratner and producer Beau Flynn (theatrical cut)
o Extended cut in high definition
o Brett Ratner and Dwayne Johnson: An Introduction
o Hercules and his Mercenaries
o Weapons!
o The Bessi Battle
o The Effects of Hercules
o 15 Deleted/Extended Scenes
o DVD Version of “Hercules”
o Digital Copy of “Hercules”

”Hercules” was released on Blu-ray and DVD on November 4, 2014.

HollywoodChicago.com editor and staff writer Nick Allen

Editor & Staff Writer

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


  • Speech & Debate (stage play)

    CHICAGO – “Speech & Debate,” the latest production from the mighty Brown Paper Box Company, continues their tradition of thinking outside that “box” in presenting storefront theater that makes a statement and a difference. “Speech” goes inside America by showcasing the outsiders… those who create art because they can’t get it right in real life. This non-equity Chicago stage play premiere is finely tuned and wonderfully acted, and runs through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • We're Gonna Be Okay

    CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.


HollywoodChicago.com on Twitter


HollywoodChicago.com Top Ten Discussions