After Renny Harlin’s less than satisfying attempt at a Hercules movie earlier this year with The Legend Of Hercules, Brett Ratner’s version of the Greek demigod’s tale is surprise surprise, refreshingly good.


Starring Dwayne ‘Rock’ Johnson as the protagonist, many argue that he is the ideal man for the role. Well, he is and literally packs a mean punch. Bulging six packs and biceps aside, viewers can look forward to an enjoyable and decent performance by Johnson.

Rather than revisiting the Greek myth that we’re all familiar with, the movie reveals a more realistic story of Hercules – the truth behind his legend. Certain aspects that are crucial to the story are kept, such as his born brute strength.

The movie begins with the tale of how Hercules’ birth had angered Hera, wife of Zeus, as it was a reminder of her husband’s infidelity. To appease Hera, Hercules completes 12 labors, according to storyteller and fellow comrade, Iolaus, played by Reece Ritchie.

The audience also gets to know Hercules as an invincible, fearless and noble leader of a band of not-so-merry mercenaries, which include Ian McShane as Amphiarus the soothsayer, Rufus Sewell as Autocylus, Ingrid Bolso Berdal as Atalanta the Amazon warrior, Aksel Hennie as Tydeus the beast-man and Iolaus.

Wait a minute – Hercules the hero as a leader of misfits? It takes a lot of conviction to re-imagine Hercules, but as the story develops, our protagonist confronts his dark past and discovers his true self.


The plot thickens when Hercules’ elite team of warriors (or Navy Seals if you like, in a modern context) is hired by the Lord of Thrace, played by John Hurt, to get rid of rebels in the kingdom enraged by civil war.

The movie has stunning action scenes, and is drenched in CGI, which feels like adrenaline porn if you ask me. Even so, the movie is not all brawns and no brains – the action sequences are pretty well-thought with strategic battle formations that spice up the visual spectacle.

With a plot that centers on vengeance, it is rather familiar to other countless medieval films and a certain Dark Knight trilogy. And as with Greek tragedies, a few dramatic twists and turns help make the movie more entertaining.

It’s good to the point you don’t remember the earlier version released this year. In fact, Renny Harlin’s version feels so inferior in all aspects.

Rating: 4/5

Release Date: 24 July 2014

Runtime: 98 minutes

Language: English

Censorship Rating: PG 13

Genre: Action, Adventure

Director: Brett Ratner

Main Actors: Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian Mcshane