Review: Hercules

Brett Ratner, director of all three Rush Hour movies, buckles up for a sword and sandals beat-’em-up that starts off trying to put a real face on the Greek myth, only to surrender to the Hollywood gods and have a ball, with Hercules bashing everything from heads to horses. The ace up Ratner’s CGI toga is Dwayne Johnson, who, aided with little more than facial hair, a large spiky club, and muscles the size of Mount Olympus, lends this Hercules a likable persona, trapped inside a ludicrous physique.

It’s all guilty, macho, fast-paced, simplistic, testosterone-fueled fun, with plot, characters and dialogue you’d expect from teen-friendly fare, rather than in an “M for Mature” movie like this. It may steal wholesale from 300 and Gladiator, but it’s far more akin to Schwarzenegger’s Conan, with oodles of battles, and lashings of humorous asides.

Most of the fun’s provided by two of Herc’s merry men: Ian McShane (as a soothsayer uncertain of the future); and Rufus Sewell, who begins training troops with: “Lesson one: How not to stab yourself.” There’s even a sexy sidekick thrown in, with Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as a deadly Amazonian archer – in an even deadlier short leather skirt. Ranged against The Rock are a craggy John Hurt, a grumpy Peter Mullan and a scenery-chewing Joseph Fiennes. Still, the battles go off with a pleasing clangity-crunch and, when the CGI gets a bit much, you can always marvel at The Rock’s spectacular pecs.

‘Hercules’ Movie Times (also in 3D)