An origin story? No one in Hollywood does those!
So Legend of Hercules starts with King Amphitryon invading a city, and challenging the city’s king to a one-on-one duel. But because Amphitryon is secretly Scott Adkins, he kicks the ever-living shit out of his opponent with his bare hands. Yeah, he stabs his sword into the ground and starts fighting his armed opponent, because Scott Fucking Adkins. Amphitryon takes over the city and fathers a son, Iphicles (Liam Garrigan, who clearly graduated with honors from the Joaquin Phoenix School of Greek Whiny Spoiled Bitch Face of Villainy).
Then Queen Alcmene is told that she will bear the son of Zeus, because Amphitryon is a dick and Zeus doesn’t play no shit. So he bangs her in one of the most awkward, hysterical sex scenes in cinematic history, and when Hercules (Kellan Lutz, still with a face that only has two expressions and pecs so big they are literally boobies) falls in love with Hebe (as in “heebie jeebie”), it turns out to be forbidden love because she’s supposed to marry Iphicles. But Iphicles is mad because Hercules already hit that, so he convinces Daddy to send Hercules on an expedition, where he gets captured by someone, but I wasn’t sure who because everyone in this movie talks like they’re trying to read Shakespeare with a mouthful of ballsack.
Hercules and his new BFF Sotiris (Liam McIntyre who ironically was in Spartacus: War of the Damned, which this movie wants desperately to be) are sold as slaves to fight. Somehow they convince their handler to let them fight in an arena. After that I went to use the restroom, so I’m not sure what happened, but when I got back apparently Hercules convinced this guy to let him fight for his freedom. He wins, because he’s Hercules. Then he gathers an army to revolt against King Amphitryon. He also refuses to accept the fact that Zeus is his dad, until one part when the script requires it. Then there’s fighting and the movie ends, and the credits swoop in. They’re idiotically animated credits, but after that the lights come up. Faith in God restored. Felt physically ill for the rest of the day.
There are a handful of good-looking comedies coming out this year, like 22 Jump Street, Neighbors, and The Grand Budapest Hotel. However, they’ll have a high bar to meet because The Legend of Hercules is already the most outrageous, hilarious comedy we’re likely to see this year. Whether it’s King Amphitryon’s beard yelling a lot (and he yells a lot) or Hercules looking he just smelled one of his own farts, there are plenty of great comedic moments to be had here.
That sex scene: so Zeus never physically appears in the movie. So how’s he going to put a baby in the Queen? With lots of flashed of lightning and wind blowing while she lays there moaning. She might have levitated too. It was kind of amazing, and made even better by the fact that this movie takes itself 100% seriously, and that scene was supposed to be cool and dramatic. It was neither of those things.
Also, The Motherfucking Scott Adkins. He’s seriously the breast part of the movie. He’s mean, he fucks shit up (noo, the curtains!) and he tromps around glowering left and right. It’s awesome. He should have won, and killed Hercules, and continuing being the evil taint that he was for most of the movie.
There’s a terrific amount of overacting here from most of the cast. One outlier is Kellan Lutz, who doesn’t act so much as he says words and looks at things. He does act late in the movie, where he screams to the heavens that he believes in his father and needs strength. Lutz says that he watched The Passion of the Christ to know how to act for that scene, and I wish I was joking about that. Everyone else way overacts, with the main offenders being Hebe, who cries like six damn times, and Amphitryon, who just yells a lot. Actually, everyone yells a lot in this movie.
Remember how 300 had slow-motion? Well, think of that, except not badass, and way more gratuitous and self-fellating, and you have the slow-mo in Legend of Hercules. It’s also the worst kind, as, well, it’s that awful “speed up then slow way down” ramping that was bad enough in 300 but is used to the point here that the movie would be twice as long without it. And you know what? Maybe this should be part of the Toast because I’ll be damned if I’m going to watch a movie this shitty that lasts for three hours. But I’m keeping it here as a beer, because it was still really stupid.
This movie is more boring than trying to learn how to please a woman on a narrated audiobook that doesn’t have sound effects (you know the ones). Hercules is supposed to be a fucking badass that fights against crazy creatures, has awesome powers and hangs out with gods. Instead, we get a guy with muscles and there are exactly two instances of “powers.” The first is a hilariously stupid scene where he swings two pieces of rock attached to shackles around in 3D, and in the second he harnesses lightning that has struck his sword to make a crazy energy whip in 3D. And for some reason they try to keep all of it pretty much grounded in reality.
Speaking of 3D, Renny Harlin shoots the film very poorly. It’s too dark, the framing is shitty, and those 3D shots are more gratuitous than the actors’ faces on free porn previews. Claritin’s stock went up about fifty billion points after a romance scene featuring unreasonable amounts of pollen floating in the air, and the 3D swinging boulders would be right at home in one of those Universal Studios virtual reality things. The way the film itself is shot is literally nauseating, and I had a headache and stomachache for hours after it was over. It just looks like shit, literally. Everything is brown, except for when it’s raining or nighttime, then it’s an equally ugly Underworld blue.
It’s also just kind of really fucking stupid. For example, if all Hercules has to do is ask to get most of Amphitryon’s army to rebel against him, how the hell is the king maintaining his hold on his lands? Literally everyone hates him, though there’s not really any reason given besides the fact that he’s a dick. Plot holes like this happen fairly regularly, and it’s breast to just let them happen rather than question them.
The movie spends a lot of time with Hercules denying his demigodhood and rejecting the idea that Zeus is his father, conveniently forgetting the fact that he kills the shit out of anyone who tries to mess with him and can get shot with multiple arrows without even blinking. He kills a damn lion by giving it a reach around early in the movie, and that isn’t an indication that maybe he might be something more than a mere mortal?
It’s taken this long to mention, but it still needs to be said. This movie, from the same studio as Twilight, has some really Twilight-ass bullshit in it. Like when Hercules and Hebe frolic around on horseback and then go to the secret watering hole to talk about a stupid necklace and say shit like “You face was etched on my heart from the moment I laid eyes on you” or “The only thing I fear is your departure.”
We’re ten days into 2014, and we’ve already got a movie to set the shit standard for the whole year.
How’s that insurance premium doing? You’re gonna need it.
Take a Drink: for every instance of slow motion.
Take a Drink: every time Hercules leaps into the air.
Do a Shot: whenever you notice the green screen.
Take a Drink: every time someone yells.