Review: The Legend of Hercules

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The Legend of Hercules

The first thing one might expect in a film called The Legend of Hercules would be that it actually recounts some or all of the story of Hercules. Instead, Renny Harlin presents a derivative hodgepodge of several sword-and-sandals film mashed up with select Biblical imagery in a tale bearing little to no resemblance to the Hercules of mythology.

Scott Adkins appears as power-hungry King Amphitryon, who, after conquering his latest kingdom in single combat against its ruler, returns to his bedchamber where he finds his wife Alcmene (Roxanne McKee) bemoaning his cruelty. Alcmene flees his unrepentant presence to the temple of Hera and prays to the goddess for a child that will put an end to Amphitryon's cruelty.

Twenty years later, Kellan Lutz is cliff diving into the arms of Hebe (Gaia Weiss) who has already been unknowingly betrothed to his older brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan), who spends his time stalking the two lovers and taking credit for his brother's great deeds.

Except for the brief interaction with Hera and an impressive bit of special f/x with a lightning bolt later in the film, The Legend of Hercules dispenses entirely with the "myth" portion of the Herculean mythos. The man with the strength of a god is powerless until he opens himself to his feelings, and this so-called legend features only one feat of strength.

The predictably boring events of the ensuing story share equal blame, however, with astoundingly bad camera work. Poorly-lit scenes fail in their masquerade as the result of a stylistic choice when they cut to other scenes that are perfectly bright. It's as if not just the story but also the visuals were cut and edited from more than one film. The presentation in 3D was equally bad, or perhaps even worse, as the action shots in every fight scene looked like they were ripped from a video game.

All this is compounded by nausea-inducing technical glitches that frequently cloud the vision in one eye or cross both. Perhaps the worst-looking movie ever shot on Red Epic cameras, that company should consider a demand to have its name removed from the credits.

This is the point in the review where one would normally hear "If you're a Kellan Lutz fan..." or "If you have to see every Scott Adkins film..." No. Not this time.  Neither actor justifies enduring what one hopes is the worst movie this year. The Legend of Hercules should have been released on Thanksgiving, because it is legendary turkey.