The Legend of Hercules 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
Take nearly exact plot points from GLADIATOR, ROBIN HOOD and 300, then cast b-level actors in key roles and hire a director that hasn’t made a decent film in almost 20 years and you have the basic recipe for THE LEGEND OF HERCULES. It should be no surprise that Renny Harlin’s take on the legend of Hercules is nearly unwatchable, but it would be hard to be prepared for some of the liberties taken with the story, as well as some of the directing decisions that were made.
As King Amphitryon (Adkins) brutally conquers kingdoms, his wife, Alcmene, turns to the gods for help and protection. Hera (Zeus’s wife) responds by rewarding Alcmene with Zeus’s son, who she promises will grow up and dethrone King Amphitryon. You know, because as Greek mythology goes, Hera was always BFF’s with Zeus’s human lovers…sigh. This son, of course is Hercules (Lutz) and we flash forward 20 years where a grown up Hercules is banished from his kingdom for falling in love with the woman, Hebe, that was to wed his brother. Hercules manages to survive the trap the King set for him and ends up getting sold into slavery, where he has to compete in gladiator tournaments to get back home, wed Hebe and overthrow the King.
All of the fight scenes are done in the 300, slow motion style, as if someone was trying to duplicate what Zack Snyder did in his film. The gladiator fights and events leading up to it are almost taken directly from GLADIATOR. Once Hercules gets back to his town, he turns into Robin Hood and the scenes where he helps the people all feel very reminiscent of Ridley Scott’s ROBIN HOOD. Basically, there’s absolutely nothing new or original in THE LEGEND OF HERCULES, which means the film has to stand on performances, dialogue and action scenes and that’s really bad news for the film. But knocking a film like THE LEGEND OF HERCULES for bad performances and bad dialogue is like kicking a puppy. However, the 300 style, slow motion, boring action scenes were uncalled for, as was the constant falling of white flakes. I know the flakes were there to enhance the 3D experience, but what were they? Snow? Pollen? Ash? Kellan Lutz’s dandruff?
It should also be known that aside from a few names, this story has very little to do with the story of Hercules. With four screenwriters credited on the film, I would have thought at least one of them would have been familiar with the original stories of Hercules, but clearly they were more focused on copying other, non-related stories. I don’t think we need an exact adaptation of “The Twelve Labours of Heracles”, but keeping basic elements in tact would have been nice.
When going into THE LEGEND OF HERCULES, there should be no surprises. You should already know that Kellan Lutz can’t carry his own film and that Renny Harlin should’ve stopped making movies years ago. You should also know the film was rushed together to get released before Dwayne Johnson and Brett Ratner’s version hit theaters, so that didn’t help things either. I’m not convinced Ratner is going to do anything better, but let’s just say the bar has been set really low.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: Recent Lionsgate 4K catalog titles have gotten the Dolby Vision treatment, but THE LEGEND OF HERCULES wasn’t afforded the same treatment. The movie looked great on Blu-ray, thanks in large part to it’s glossy, 3D ready presentation. That translates well to 4K, where the added clarity and extra detail give the film a natural 3D feel. This is yet another title that doesn’t offer a drastic improvement over the Blu-ray, but the improvements are there.
Audio: The Dolby Atmos track is a nice upgrade and if you insist on sitting through the film, this is the best way to listen to it.
This title was reviewed using a Samsung UBD-K8500 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
The 4K UHD does not contain any exclusive features, but it does contain a Blu-ray of the film, which includes the following special features:
Commentary with Kellan Lutz and Renny Harlin: This is an odd commentary because it felt like neither the film’s star or the film’s director had anything to say about their movie.
The Making of The Legend of Hercules (14:45): This is a forgettable fluff piece covering the making of the film at a high level.