Hercules Reborn (2014)
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Favorite Movie Quote: "You may just yet get your chance"
With an evil general usurping the throne of his king and the princess captured for his own lustful purposes, her fiancÚ travels afar to find the legendary warrior Hercules to save his kingdom and rescue the Princess.
HERCULES REBORN, the latest offering from the Daves - and Paul - is a very curious mix of a film. The entire "feel" of the film smacks nostalgic of the "sword and sandal" epics of the early Sixties. This reviewer was surprised that Music Composer Chris Ridenhour didn't add the obligatory English Horns in his very narrative score.
Of the principals we have the title character, WWE wrestler John Hennigan, who gives an entertaining interpretation of the demi-god. When friends Arius (Christian Oliver) and Horace (SUSHI GIRL'S James Duval) travel to seek out the fabled Hercules to defeat the evil King Nikos (go-to Asylum regular Dylan Vox) and save his fiancÚ , the Princess Theodora (Christina Ulfsparre), they find, to their dismay, a smelly, belching, drunken heap of a vagrant, not the majestic hero of legends. The bad guys are truly despicable, committing acts that make violations of the Geneva Convention seem like robbing the cookie jar, and in particular Nikos's chief henchman Cyrus (Piscataway Indians descendant Marcus Shirock), who goes dark in a manner that disgusts even himself.
The creative team of director Nick Lyon (the evil king is named Nikos - a wink?), and writers Jim Hemphill and veteran Asylum writer Jose Montesinos (BARRIO BRAWLER) create a world that is literally a throwback to the classic Steve Reeves/Gordon Scott epics of this reviewers childhood.
Which brings this reviewer to the single gripe. Although the action was non-stop, and the story engaging enough to keep your attention for its 95-minute run, Hercules did not do much "Hercules Stuff." In fact, this Hercules was more reminiscent of another sword and sandal hero, Jason Momoa's 2011 CONAN the BARBARIAN. Even the Asylum's DVD cover mimicked some of the earlier posters for that film. This reviewer's theory: the film was originally set to be a CONAN mockbuster, but because of the late timing, the dismal failure of the 2011 incarnation, plus the fact the Herc is real popular now, with Kellan Lutz and Dwayne Johnson taking a swipe at the son of Zeus, the combination of the Herc twins and the name recognition of some marketable stars made re-tooling the film to something more attractive.
But, the bad guys got their comeuppance, the princess is rescued, and Hercules rides off into the sunset. Everybody happy.
On my personal rating scale of with "5" being drop everything and see the video now; if you're female, bear the producers' children and "0" being burn down the theater, murder the staff, and violate their dog, this movie earns a "3.75," using my Patented Bell Curve for Independent films. This reviewer would usually take off points for familiarity, but since this film felt so much like the genre of the Sixties, it was more entertaining than tedious.
HERCULES REBORN is unrated, but would rate an "R" for its bloody violence, drug use (you'll have to watch the film to understand that), implied nudity, and implied rape, but nothing that would not pass, virtually unedited, on commercial television.
The film stars John Hennigan, Christian Oliver, Marcus Shirock, James Duval, Dylan Vox, Christina Ulfsparre, Alistair A. Duff, Foued Mansour, Jeremy M. Inman, Jennifer Marie Paul, Ben Chagra Khalid. Written by Jim Hemphill and Jose Montesinos, and directed by Nick Lyon, HERCULES REBORN is available now on Blu-Ray ad DVD.
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