As if people needed any more reason to lament the lack of originality in Hollywood, it seems like every year there are at least two dueling movies about the exact same thing. Last year, it was terrorist attacks on the White House, and two years ago, it was Snow White. The trend continues in 2014 with Hercules, pitting Renny Harlin’s brawn-over-brains film about the Greek hero against the Dwayne Johnson summer vehicle directed by Brett Ratner. Though Ratner’s involvement will no doubt irk film geeks who’ve made it their life mission to attack the director-for-hire any chance they get, it’s hard to imagine that his movie will be even remotely as terrible as “The Legend of Hercules,” although that’s not much of a challenge.
For starters, this rendition – a sort of origin story about Greek mythology’s most famous demigod – stars the emotionless Kellan Lutz as the title character. Raised by King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins) as his own son despite suspicions that he was sired by someone else, Hercules is in fact the product of an unintentionally hilarious one night stand between Queen Alcmene (Roxanne McKee) and Zeus. When Hercules’ true love, Princess Hebe (Gaia Weiss), is arranged to marry his weaker and whinier older brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan), Amphitryon sends Hercules off to war in the hopes that he’ll be killed. But despite being captured and sold into slavery, Hercules uses his skills in the gladiator ring to win back his freedom and return to Greece, where he leads an army against Amphitryon to reclaim the kingdom.