The legend of Hercules was fiddled around with in Steve Moore's Hercules comics (of which the film is based) as it presents Hercules as mercenary motivated mostly by money and not the supposed son of Zeus who defeated the 12 labors. When Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) is approached by Ergenia (Rebecca Ferguson) pleading for him to help her father, Lord Cotys (John Hurt), in his fight against the evil Warlord Rheseus (Tobias Santelmann) Hercules agrees to help, but there are more sinister things afoot.
Brett Ratner hasn't exactly got a career to write home about, granted his films have made more than enough money, but to call a film Brett Ratner's best isn't exactly singing his praises. His latest film, to be frank, is rubbish, the dialogue is awful, the plot is basic and predictable and characters are lacking any real development, but, and it's a big but, if I were to claim that Brett Ratner's Hercules isn't enjoyable then I'd be lying. Quite why Hercules is so enjoyable is a mystery simply because the film is more enjoyable then it has any right to be as there are so many issues that really should make this a chore to sit through yet it's never, ever boring. Perhaps it's down to the awful cheesiness of the dialogue (the line "fucking centaurs" has surely never been said before), but Ratner's Hercules is a laugh.
Ratner deserves very little credit for anything that is good about Hercules, granted he keeps the pace hurtling through the famished plot, but it's the highly effective cast that alleviate the dreadful to the rather enjoyable. Dwayne Johnson may not exactly be the most charismatic actor in the world (he does seem like a genuinely nice guy though) but he has the physique that is demanded in the role. Hercules is a hero lauded more his fearless feats and stupendous strength and the former wrestler is convincing enough to provide such a hero. Supporting Johnson is a fine array of talented supporting stars, particularly John Hurt who possibly gives the most scenery chewing performance of his career. The cast perhaps realise that the film is a load of utter rubbish and decide to have a great deal of fun with it, and it comes off really well making the film more enjoyable than it has any right to be.
The film perhaps pushes the 12A rating to the extreme (even more so than The Hunger Games franchise) and the bite of the action scenes, despite the lack of blood, is owed much to the film's editors Mark Helfrich and Julia Wong who successfully manage to make the action sequences more enjoyable brutal than they seem. They do a rather impressive job making the film appeal to the gore hounds despite the quite apparent lack of blood. Additionally, their effective editing adds a degree of inventiveness to action sequences, which are really well done, making them hugely entertaining.
Hercules is by no means a good film, no matter how hard you argue your case, but it is certainly an enjoyable one