Hercules (2014)

Hercules (2014 film)
Hercules was played by Dwayne Johnson. Now this production was packed with lots of action and battle scenes.

In this adaptation, the tale is kept true in the fact that Hercules is the son of Zeus, who is the lead god in ancient Greece. However, Zeus had an affair with a mortal woman, so Hercules is a demi-god. Zeus’ wife Hera is very angry and set out to kill Hercules! Instead, she set him a challenge, twelve labours to endure. Should he survive them, he may live.

Then the tale cuts to Hercules’ cousin telling the tales, the cousin has been held captive by a gang of thugs. Hercules shows up to save his cousin and has his own gang to help him fight.

This Hercules and his troop are mercenaries going from town to town, destroying monsters or running other gangs outta town – for a price! The profits are spilt between them. To one gang he says, ‘Die or leave, I still get paid!’

In the local inn a woman approaches Hercules with an offer to help their town. Her father Lord Cotys, King of Thrace, will pay Hercules in gold the amount – will be based on Hercules weight! (So it’ll be a lot of gold!)
Then there’s another flashback where Hercules seems to be married with kids. Then something terrible has happened to them. Is this why Hercules lives like an outcast?

One of his gang is a Seer Amphiaraus, (Ian McShane – Lovejoy). Arriving at Lord Cotys’ (John Hurt) camp, the man has a reduced army with only farmers to replace his fallen warriors. Hercules must train the army. Steve Peacock, (Brax in Home & Away), plays one of the farmers I think.

Lord Cotys’ enemy is a man called Rheseus. Who is rumoured to have centaurs at his command. In their search for him, they go through mountains ranges and travel far. Hercules’ cousin tries to sneak in the army to join in the battle but Hercules spots him and makes him go in the chariot that Lord Cotys’ will be riding, under maximum protection.

Visions of a three headed wolf and nightmares about his murdered family haunt him. Did the beast of Hades’ strike his family during the night to get at him? Had Hera driven him mad and made him kill them? Why can’t he remember the night clearly? What did happen? Is the beast his final challenge to appease Hera, so it will continue to chase him forever?

There comes a massive battle as Rheseus has hidden an army who ambush them. Only Hercules’ idea to use the chariots saves the day. But that battle was only the warm up act, there’s still Rhesus to face and the shocks in store may unhinge Hercules.

This movie was very good. A likeable hero, aided by good friends. A very different take on the legend, where swearing is prevalent. I’m not sure ancient Greece knew those words!
The scenery was amazing, sweeping mountain views, whooshing across forests and valleys. That was breathtaking. Excellent CGI and many twists and turns ensure an enjoyable ride.

8/10 from me. It would’ve been a ten but for the swearing, which I didn’t think was necessary and it did bring the tone down.

Image reproduced from wikipedia.com
Trailer reproduced from CBMTrailers

Film Review: Pain and Gain

Pain and Gain
Pain and Gain stars Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. This was an entertaining film in some parts! An interesting plot. A lot of action and twists and turns keep things moving.

Daniel Lugo (Wahlberg) is not long out of jail when he begins hatching plans to enjoy the rich life. He works at a gym and one client draws his attention – Victor Kershaw (Tony Shalhoub).

There’s a bungled attempt to kidnap him along with two ‘pals’. Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and Paul Doyle (Johnson). Adrian’s a body builder who needs money and Doyle is a drug addict, trying – and failing – to kick his habit.

The chemistry between the three (Wahlberg, Johnson and Mackie) is one of the strong points of this film. The inept way they have of messing up their plans, forcing them to take more extreme action to fix things, keeps the pace fast.

I wouldn’t want to work with them that’s for sure. It’s a pity there wasn’t more comic moments, a bit like a Carry On film, as this would have been fantastic. It would’ve made movie gold. It’s just such a shame that things became so graphic and complex.

The drug story brought it down and Lugo’s schemes were getting grander and grander. Kershaw survives being kidnapped and a car crash and has to go into hiding as the police refuse to believe his kidnappers could be so incompetent. So he’s forced to hire a private eye. His fortune is gone with the trio spending his money on various treats.

Ed Du Bois (Ed Harris) is the private eye tracking the gang and when their money runs out, they decide on another kidnapping (Uh-oh!). Cue more mayhem and action, along with police chases galore!

The main problem with this film is the style, it didn’t work as a gangster film. The main trio had such brilliant chemistry, this should have been a gentler comedy as I‘ve said above. Leaving someone to burn to death in a car was unnecessary and some of the violence was likewise not needed. Burning hands on a BBQ was awful and weird!

Also why wouldn’t Lugo raid Kershaw’s offshore accounts before? Why leave them until later? Also convincing Kershaw’s family to leave town so he could have the house was unbelievable.

Due to the darker tones and some choice of storylines I’m marking this 6/10. I was really hoping to give Mark Wahlberg higher, you can’t deny he’s a versatile actor but some his choices are certainly questionable.

Dwayne Johnson seems to be taking anything that comes along but he’s always amiable on screen.

Image reproduced from wikipedia.com
Trailer reproduced from hollywoodstreams