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Hercules (1983) - Blu-ray Review

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Hercules (1983) - Blu-ray Review

3 beers

Beautiful women.  Mechanical Beasts.  And a floating thrift store water jug drifting in space.  There are so many weird and strange and low-budget visuals from this movie – like the sight of a greenless (but poorly dubbed) Lou Ferrigno – that are scratched into my retinas, it is a boundless wonder I never arrived at middle school wielding a golden sword. 

Wait.  I did.  Shit.

DAMN IT, Ferrigno!   Canon Films and their awesome cheese strikes again.  That’s why the girls went shrieking away!  Thankfully, fantasy rules all things cool and, as it remains ageless, means we get to enjoy things probably better left in the past…like this movie.  1983's Hercules has arrived in high-definition!

Honestly, I can only give thanks and praises to Shout! Factory for having the balls to release this fantasy flick back into the world.  Some of us, even though we know it is overlong and paper-thin make-believe, wish to revisit it.

With the mythos of Richard Donner’s Superman as its main guidance, the divine hero of Hercules gets the Italian treatment for this hulking mockbuster.  With Claudio Cassinelli as Zeus and Rossana Podestà as Hera, Italian movie director and screenwriter Luigi Cozzi guides us through his cheapo-depo version of the strapping Herc against the science-minded wizard Minos (William Berger).  Cozzi, being the director who brought us the b-movie cults classics Starcrash and Contamination, jumps right in with a narrative that begins before the world has even begun. 

Wow.  I think the DeLorean took us too far back, Doc.  With an additional 20-minutes of world building and nonsensical fantasy elements, we finally settle into the story of the Herc baby who, after wrestling with a snake puppet, grows up to be Lou Ferrigno.  For me, the chance to see Ferrigno outside of The Incredible Hulk, which had just gone off the air, was important.  And what a mass of muscle he was, too!  Christ.  Don’t piss this fucker off.  He might toss your ass right into outer space.

Which Herc does.  Twice before the first 30-minutes have ticked away.  And then some more.  That’s right, Hercules is the movie where I saw a man – albeit the son of an immortal being – actually hurl a killer bear into space.  And, later, he tosses a fucking tree into orbit around the earth.  Hercules, as a Greek god, is a bit of a litterbug and space is, apparently, his goddamned dumpster.

The plus side to this long-winded fable is that, along with all the other adventures, we actually get an excellent crossing of the River Styx.  Yes, I said excellent.  I mean it.  I am still haunted by the striking visuals of Charon in that scene.  The skull.  The red hues of the lava.  The depth of the blacks.  It’s drizzling with atmosphere and remains a moment - perhaps THE moment - worth remembering

So what if everything about this production screams Ed Wood?!  I’m down with it.  It’s cheap.  It’s rickety, too.  Some costumes look stapled.  The set design is gloriously cheap but damn expressive.  It was the 1980s, man.  And it shows.  Whatever works.  Even the boring parts –filled with scantily clad women warriors like Sybil Danning (in a very low cut outfit), Mirella D'Angelo, and Ingrid Anderson – don’t suck as bad people suggest.

Ferrigno’s moment away from the shadow of the show that made him famous comes and goes with this movie.  Happily, we now get to see the shimmering light of Herc’s sword and shield once again.  And it doesn’t suck.

Hercules (1983) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: PG.
Runtime: 98 mins
Director: Luigi Cozzi
Writer: Luigi CozziLou Ferrigno, Brad Harris, Sybil Danning
Cast:  Lou Ferrigno, Brad Harris, Sybil Danning
Genre: Adventure | Fantasy
Tagline: The Legend Lives!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Why am I stronger than other men? Why does my strength bring so many sorrows upon my head?"
Theatrical Distributor: Cannon Film Distributors
Official Site:
Release Date: August 26, 1983
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: August 22, 2017

Synopsis: The strongest man on Earth ... in a super-adventure odyssey.

The incredible Lou Ferrigno steps into the sandals of the most durable demigod in myth and motion pictures: Hercules!

With the strength of an army, our hero battles the forces of darkness in one unbelievable exploit after another. From bloodthirsty bears and loathsome reptiles to giant robots and laser beams, he stands tall against all who oppose him in his battle against the nefarious Minos (William Berger). But even the mighty Hercules himself may not be impervious to the bewitching charms of Sybil Danning in the role of the seductive and sultry Adriana (and can you blame him?).

Hercules (1983) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- August 22, 2017
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Language:
English
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Shout! Factory delivers young Hercules with a fantastic-looking 1080p transfer. Sporting an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, the film is full of color and details.  Fabric in clothing is visible as is the cheapness of the sets and the limitations in the locations.  Greens are strong and so are blacks.  The action sequences are vivid and expressed with a new clarity thanks to HD upgrade.  The sound is presented in an adequate DTS-HD Master Audio Mono mix.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Thankfully, Shout! Factory gives us a nice NEW look at the making of the movie.  Alongside some older featurettes, this is a solid release.

  • The Wrath Of Hercules: Interviews With Director/Screenwriter Luigi Cozzi And Set Designer Antonello Geleng
  • Hercules Backstage: Vintage Featurette
  • The Casting For Cassiopeia: Vintage Featurette
  • The Location Of Hercules: Vintage Featurette
  • Cronache Dall’infinito: Vintage TV Show
  • Theatrical Trailer

Hercules (1983) - Blu-ray Review

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