The competition to win double passes to Hercules has now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered.
Director: Brett Ratner
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian McShane, Stephen Peacocke, Irina Shayk
Release Date: July 24, 2014
Synopsis: Both man and myth, Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) leads a band of mercenaries to help end a bloody civil war in the land of Thrace and return the rightful king to his throne. A tormented soul from birth, Hercules has the strength of a God but feels the suffering of a human. Unimaginable villains will test the mythical power of Hercules indirector Brett Ratner’s gritty take on one of the most epic action heroes of the ages.
Giles Hardie for The New Daily says:
Hercules is exactly what it promises on the box and more.
Firstly it delivers the action, the swords and sandals swashbuckling fun, that we have grown to expect from a Herculean, Ancient Greecian, Spartan and frankly Dwayne Johnson flick.
Then it delivers added twists: fleshed out characters; humour; genuine twists; and some strong female characters who remember to keep their clothes on for the entire film.
This Hercules doesn’t take itself too seriously, but doesn’t resort to gimmicks or gags. It is entertaining and epic. Johnson’s hero is a mortal who already has a legend built around him, the legend we know. Now a mercenary, he and his cabal of archetypal sidekicks are drawn into a fresh conflict to protect a kingdom, and that is the centre of this film’s tale.
Johnson feels like he has prepared all his life for this role and Ian McShane is terrific as a prescient warrior cleric, however the surprising stand-out is Norwegian actor Aksel Hennie as the mute berserker Tydeus.
There is also highly skilled storytelling at work here, interwoven carefully to provide structure without evidence.
Succeeding as a brawn-over-brains blockbuster is an achievement that should not be underrated. It is so easy for a film such as this to fall into formula, or for humour or action to be prioritised at the expense of story. It sounds easy, but like a mortal maintaining a god-like persona, all-action escapism has to overcome many challenges and it can’t let its audience work too hard or see the effort involved.
This Hercules is not just for fans of 300 and King Arthur, or big muscle maniacs. This is simply one of the best popcorn flicks of the year.