Film Review: ‘A’ for Effort, ‘C’ for Execution in Dwayne Johnson’s Unmemorable ‘Hercules’

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CHICAGO – I empathize with Dwayne Johnson and simultaneously don’t. Most people never get rich and famous once, let alone twice. Sure, it’s hard to re-brand people from the wrestling superstar you once were into the dramatic action star you’re trying to become, but your past is forever immortal. Oscarman rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

Like Jackie Chan wants to be viewed as a dramatic actor instead of a funny karate man, so too does Dwayne Johnson want to drop his wrestling image as The Rock and be taken seriously as a real actor. The problem is he’s all over the place. It’s hard to be Hercules when you’re being remembered as campy in films like “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island” and the upcoming “Journey 3: From the Earth to the Moon”.

This isn’t having actor’s range. Having real range is Charlize Theron successfully branching out with a challenging role in “Monster.” Instead, this is trying to be an actor when you’re really someone else and having an identity crisis in the meantime. This is throwing darts at a moving dartboard and seeing what will stick rather than having a clear vision and honing it.

Dwayne Johnson has his moments as a real actor, but too often he tries too hard to convince you he’s someone he’s not. Even before analyzing Dwayne Johnson’s performance as Hercules, the film struggles to gain widespread understanding to moviegoers about why it’s here in the first place.

StarRead Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Hercules”.

Only 6 months earlier, “The Legend of Hercules” with Kellan Lutz (“Twilight”) bombed fantastically at the box office beginning on Jan. 10, 2014. The $70 million film only earned $19 million domestically and $42 million overseas. It was perhaps the worst-reviewed “blockbuster” film in recent memory and certainly in 2014.

In January, I wrote this about it:

Despite taking fight sequence and cinematographic inspiration from films like “300” and “Gladiator,” “The Legend of Hercules” fails as an epic action film because of its low-cost acting, a stiff and cheesy script, an underwhelming visual feast and pre-pubescent character depth. It’s a summer blockbuster film wannabe that opened in January instead to recoup the piece of its $70 million budget that it can.

“Hercules” stars Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell, Aksel Hennie, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Reece Ritchie, Joseph Fiennes, Tobias Santelmann, Peter Mullan and Rebecca Ferguson from director Brett Ratner and writers Ryan Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos. It is 98 minutes and rated “PG-13” for epic battle sequences, violence, suggestive comments, brief strong language and partial nudity. The film opened on July 25, 2014.

StarContinue for Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Hercules”.

Dwayne Johnson in Hercules
Dwayne Johnson is Hercules in “Hercules”.
Photo credit: Kerry Brown, Paramount Pictures

StarContinue for Adam Fendelman’s full review of “Hercules”.

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