The Legend of Hercules has something going for it -- a star in Kellan Lutz who is achieving his dream of playing the hero he pretended to be as a kid. That youthful reverence for the role is present throughout the film from the Twilight Saga veteran as he headlines his first major Hollywood movie, and it’s a huge action sword and sandals epic at that.
The film is also an origins movie and feels like one that director Renny Harlin has to be hoping will become a series. We literally meet the title character as he is being born, a birth that does not please his ruler "father," King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins). He is none too pleased and lets Hercules know that throughout his upbringing.
Hercules is clearly the second in line for the throne and if Amphitryon has his way, the young warrior will never wear the crown. Heck, young Hercules doesn’t even know his true origin and how he is the son of Zeus. He is a demi-god who has the potential to summon immense power. When he does find out, it changes everything… but it may be too late as he has been sent off to fight in a war that will surely end in death or defeat and capture. The latter happens and our born-of-godly-origins hero must fight his way back to freedom. If that aspect of the story sounds a bit like Gladiator, no, you’re not crazy.
There’s a love story that is established early on between Gaia Weiss’ Hebe and Hercules. You sense that their adoration for each other must be kept a secret. And just before our hero is shipped off to a certain death or imprisonment in battle, he learns that his older brother has been promised her hand. If that sounds like a classic royal romance tale too, you are also not delusional.
What does work well, and it even is found in The Legend of Hercules trailer, is the action sequences. Lutz is a solid action hero, and in a time when Hollywood is seeking the next generation of movie warriors, might we suggest the man who is Hercules. And someone must be listening because he is due to appear as the token youngster in The Expendables 3.
And Harlin (helmer of Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger) is no stranger to shooting action sequences that are highly stylized. He raises the stakes with his The Legend of Hercules and experiments with slow motion and a visual style that feels borrowed from a combination of 300 and The Matrix.
If you enjoy Harlin action pics and are a fan of Lutz’s, then our The Legend of Hercules review finds this film is for you. For everyone else who might be curious about the Hercules legend, you probably should wait for the Dwayne Johnson Hercules movie coming later this year.