Film review: Hercules (3 out of 5)
It seems a modern idea in films to deconstruct characters, turning accepted concepts on their head.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto were more like the Keystone Cops and Maleficent was definitely a different person to the evil witch we knew and hated from Sleeping Beauty.
So now we have Hercules, the son of Zeus - except that we are told the amazing stories are just that, tall tales.
Dwayne Johnson plays the title role, muscles rippling and locks flowing.
We meet him tackling some pirates for a bounty.
But he is not alone. He has a band of warriors who are a dab hand at bumping off the enemy.
They include Rufus Sewell as Autolycus, Ian McShane as Amphiaraus and Norway’s Aksel Hennie as Tydeus.
Add another Norwegian Ingrid Bolsø Berdal as Atalanta and Reece Ritchie as Hercules’ nephew Iolaus and you have quite a killing machine.
The happy band team up with John Hurt, Lord Cotys, looking to become King of Thrace, who is having a tough time against some unpleasant locals.
The body count is enormous, with some spectacular ways of dying.
But since this is a 12A, we don’t actually see much blood.
There’s a sub plot involving Hercules’ former family life and all the strands come together in a dramatic finish.
Johnson may be the lead but the likes of Sewell, McShane and Hurt easily outshine him.
Director Brett Ratner (X-Men: The Last Stand, Red Dragon) certainly knows how to put together an action movie.
However, there is so much killing and maiming going on that the deeper message and human element gets buried under a heap of corpses.
Film details: Hercules (12A) 98mins
Director: Brett Ratner
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Rufus Sewell,
Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley