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Hercules - Blu-ray Review

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Hercules - Movie Review

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3 stars

Once again, a film company bungles a summer marketing strategy. This time it is Paramount and MGM with Dwayne Johnson in Hercules. The trailers for this sword and sandal picture simply suck and leave its beefy star looking strangely miscast, as if he is too old and too aloof to carry the weight of its title. Their advertising is a bury-your-head-in-the-sand effort. Maybe after the poor reviews of the other Hercules movies, they just want to be done with the character.

Hercules is a good friend gauge. If your friends can’t enjoy this flick, then they shouldn’t continue to be your friends. With a fine sense of humor about itself, the film is better than the Conan the Barbian remake and all the other Hercules flicks. Just like Disney with John Carter, the stuffy-headed executives don’t know what they have on their hands. While the movie isn’t extraordinary by any means, it delivers an exciting, preposterous and fun summer flick that is easily enjoyed while munching on a big old bucket of popcorn.

Director Brett Ratner finally – at least in my eyes – settles his fortune and fame ambitions for B-movie glory and delivers a film that is both ridiculous and a hell of a lot of dumb fun. There are few ounces of fat on this steak. They’ve changed the look and the age of our hero which adds a certain amount of freshness to the picture whose lead character has been seen twice already. Also changed is the schlocky attitude at work behind the camera. No one here is reverential to the source material of the original myth. The dialogue is pure camp for a reason and so are the situations.

For Johnson, a lot seems to be riding on the success of his take of this iconic role. While he does lead a group of mercenaries into battle, he’s pretty much solo in Hercules and, after having success with group franchises such as G.I. Joe: Retaliation and the Fast & Furious flicks, he has to prove that he can carry the burden alone. Well, he does. It may be a bit tiresome to see his attempt at brooding but his ass-kicking is delivered in such a manner that you can’t help but forgive the unfortunate hiccup that is the awkward backstory. From hero-worshipping to a royal betrayal, Johnson has this character covered as he amasses his own team of Expendables with Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Aksel Hennie and Reece Ritchie adding a lot more humor than expected.

Based on the graphic novel by Steve Moore, Ratner presents more of the man in the legend of Hercules and largely sidesteps the myth. It is a wise decision. Age suits The Rock just fine. But he doesn’t pause to pontificate for long. There are centaurs to deal with. Fucking centaurs. With a tongue-in-cheek mentality to much of the dialogue and the situations, Hercules quickly becomes a pulpy blast of cinematic glee. You just have to go in like a 12-year-old seeing an IMAX picture for the first time.  

Hercules is not a thinking man’s action movie. Leave your brain at the door. Everyone is in on the joke and you should be, too.  

Hercules - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for epic battle sequences, violence, suggestive comments, brief strong language and partial nudity.
Runtime:
98 mins
Director
: Brett Ratner
Writer:
Ryan Condal, Evan Spiliotopoulos
Cast:
Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian McShane
Genre
: Action | Adventure
Tagline:
Before he was a legend, he was a man.
Memorable Movie Quote: "We will fight for you, and we will die for you!
Distributor:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)
Official Site: http://www.mightyhercules.com/
Release Date:
July 25, 2014
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 4, 2014
Synopsis: Many Years ago, a tormented Demigod walked the earth: Hercules was the powerful son of the god king Zeus. For this, he received nothing but suffering for his entire life. After twelve arduous years of labor and the loss of his family, the dark and world-weary soul turned his back on the gods, finding his only solace in combat. Over the years, he warmed to the company of six similar friends, their only bond being their love of fighting and presence of death. These men and women never questioned where they would go to fight or why or whom, just how much they would be paid - until the King of Thrace hired them to train his men to become the greatest army of all time. It was time for the group of lost souls to finally have their eyes opened to see how far they have fallen, when they must train an army to become as ruthless and bloodthirsty as their reputation has become.

Hercules - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - November 4, 2014
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; French: Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; iTunes digital copy; DVD copy
Region Encoding: A

Paramount is releasing Hercules 3D in a combo pack with a 3D Blu-ray, standard Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD copy.   This release includes both the theatrical version of the film in both 3D and 2D, as well as an extended cut (but only in 2D) with exciting new action not seen in theaters.  The extended cut plays better as a film.  The 3D transfer is solid and works great with the visual effects.  The film also works in 2D but any epic battle scenes or creature scenes are lacking that extra punch.  Black levels are solid.  And the 1080p transfer is all detail, detail, detail.  This is a solid release.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is a huge success and delivers the epic feel of this film very well.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is an audio commentary by director Brett Ratner and producer Beau Flynn on the theatrical version in which the two discuss the origins of the project and the production, casting, etc.

Special Features:

The special features are solid and start with “Brett Ratner and Dwayne Johnson: An Introduction” and is followed by “Hercules and his Mercenaries” which looks into the team assembled for the film.  “Weapons!” is a self-explanatory extra, which focuses on action scenes and training. “The Bessi Battle” looks at the film’s major action sequence. “The Effects of Hercules” is a look at the film’s visual effects. Lastly there are 15 deleted/extended scenes.  A digital HD copy is also supplied.

  • Brett Ratner and Dwayne Johnson: An Introduction (6 min)
  • Hercules and His Mercenaries (11 min)
  • Weapons! (5 min)
  • The Bessi Battle (5 min)
  • The Effects of Hercules (12 min)
  • Deleted/Extended Scenes (20 min)

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