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Film Review: “Hercules” (2014)


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Directed by: Brett Ratner

Written By: Ryan Condal, Evan Spiliotopoulos

Cinematography by: Dante Spinotti

Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell, Aksel Hennie,  Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Reece Ritchie, Joseph Fiennes, Tobias Santelmann, Peter Mullan, Rebecca Ferguson, Isaac Andrews

“Hercules” is by all means, an epic action film which will make buy another ticket to see it again.

The big disappointments of “Godzilla and “The Transformers”, which were supposed to be the Summer’s biggest blockbusters, left some of us utterly speechless, since we had expected more from them than  just a ‘pop-corn-one-time-action’ packed film. Unfortunately, they both were silly, incomplete, pointless, and most importantly, they wasted its audience time. Not to mention their budget could have been spent on making something much better than these.  This is why I was one of those who approached “Hercules” with some skepticism. And, I must admit, with an open heart, that I was totally wrong. “Hercules” is surprisingly, epic; full of large- scale scenes, technically well made with impressive battle scenes, meaningful dialogue, and wonderful performances from everyone who appears in this film. This is why I call “Hercules” the blockbuster film of the summer.

Half man, half God; powerful and fearless. A Formidable fighter who does not know the taste of defeat. There is no one who scares him. He is mortal, but still immortal, in his heart. His name is Hercules, son of Zeus.

Hercules, played by Dwayne Johnson,  cannot forget the murder of his beloved wife and three children. Hercules  is betrayed by Hera, who drove him insane and caused him to murder his wife and children. Since then, Hercules has rejected Zeus and has chosen to live his life as a mortal. He becomes the leader of a band of mercenaries that includes the spear-wielding prophet Amphiaraus (Ian McShane), the knife-throwing thief – and, I must say, a very gifted one, who is played by Rufus Sewell.  The feral warrior- Tydeus (Aksel Hennie), the Amazon archer- Atlanta (Ingrid Bolso Berdal), and the most important person to Hercules- his nephew and storyteller Ioalaus (Reece Ritchie), team up against an unknown enemy, who have been terrorizing Greece, killing hundreds of innocent people, and burning their homes to the ground.

One day, Hercules and his courageous men are approached by Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson ),who, on behalf of her aged father, Lord Cotys (John Hurt), desperately wants Hercules to train the armies of Thrace, in order to defend the kingdom from Rheseus (Tobis Santelmann) and his well trained army. Hercules accepts the offer, and trains the army of Lord Cotys. Soon Hercules realizes that he has been deceived. As a result, he starts his own war against a powerful enemy which will become one of his best battle ever…

The first thing that comes to mind when we  think of ‘Blockbuster’ is a movie that full of action packed scenes, without any breaks, a beautiful, model-style blonde, who will fight alongside  the big-muscle-guys,  and to hear some silly jokes  that make us laugh. But all these we can see in “The Transformers: Age of Extinction.

I think, Brett Ratner, who directed Hercules,  read the Transformer`s script and tried to eliminate all of  the negative  aspects that could have made ‘Hercules’ another failure for the Summer. Fortunately, Brett Ratner and his collaboration with writers Ryan Condal and Evan Spiliotopolous, worked very well.

In “Hercules” we don`t hear inappropriate jokes, or anything else that would easily distract us from the main plot of the film. This film also does not have a blonde” with top model look – but quite the opposite. Ingrid Bolso Berdal, who plays the Amazon Archer, is physically fit and  great in every scene she appears.

The screenplay is written incredibly well and brings us right to the point. It`s a rare thing to see that in such a film as “Hercules”; we see no gaps, but rather an extremely entertaining film, with impressive battle scenes.

Despite the fact that “Hercules” has everything to assure success – a great cast, a superb screenplay, directing and music- it still would be nothing without great cinematography. Something that I want to mention; as an Italian maestro and a cinematographer; Dante Spinotti recreates  the breathtaking atmosphere of  Ancient Greece which will surely take you from where you sit in this world to a world from which you will not want to return.

“Hercules” as a film is a big success for the entire team, especially the actors. Dwayne Johnson is superb, while Rufus Sewell, as usual, shows us his charming look and gives a beautiful performance. John Hurt, as the villain. is impressive. Ian  McShane shines as the charismatic prophet, who continually tries to test his faith.

In conclusion, if you want to watch  a film that will entertain you, with no heavy dialogue, or meaningless scenes, and lots of fighting,  then “Hercules” is definitely for you. It is, by all means, an epic action film which will make buy another ticket to see it again.

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