Movie Review - The Legend of Hercules 3D

If any recognize Kellan Lutz, they will recognize him from the series of films starting with Twilight (2008), the teen romantic drama involving a high school girl and a supernaturally strong being who fall in love. Essentially, that's what happens here. A young girl and a supernaturally strong being fall in love. Except, director Renny Harlin is able to capture a scene that is extremely more beautiful, more charming and more loving than any comparable scene in any of the Twilight films. Lutz and his co-star Gaia Weiss who plays Princess Hebe of Crete simply lie in the grass, surrounded by trees on a warm, sunny day. Brightly lit, Lutz and Weiss are playful and sweet with one another and it was just a nice, sexy moment that tickled my fancy.

Granted, I have a weakness for Lutz, as not only an absolutely gorgeous, young actor but one who has proven chops, comedic chops as evidenced on the short-lived, HBO series The Comeback (2005), as well as chops showing he can be tough yet vulnerable as he was in Meskada (2010) and A Warrior's Heart (2011). With this film, he isn't required to flex those acting muscles as much as he does all the rest of the muscles on his amazingly, ripped physique.

I always wondered why his Twilight co-star Taylor Lautner got all the attention when Lutz was the one with the far, far better body. There is a reason why Lutz spends the majority of this movie shirtless and practically naked, but, putting aside his outer beauty, the good actor within does peek out in fleeting moments, such as that love scene or in scenes where Lutz's character has to be atheistic.

Forget Twilight, this film is basically a remake or a rip-off of Clash of the Titans (2011), a movie about a young man who learns he's the son of Zeus, the Greek God of thunder and sky. Instead of being called Perseus, Lutz's character is called Alcides. Alcides is an impressive, 20-year-old, blonde beefcake who is in love with Hebe, the girl who is set to marry Alcides' older brother Iphicles, played by Liam Garrigan, in three months.

Unlike in Clash of the Titans, Zeus nor any of the Gods appear in human form and show off their magical powers. It's interesting because when Alcides' mother tells him what he is, a demigod named Hercules, he doesn't believe her. Alcides befriends a Greek warrior named Captain Sotiris, played by Liam McIntyre, trying not to confuse his character here with his character in Spartacus. Sotiris references his belief in Zeus, and Alcides shoots him down with a comment that makes it very clear that Alcides is an atheist. He doesn't believe in God.

This is an interesting trait to give to this character. To make the son of God not a believer in God is compelling. Unfortunately, the screenwriters don't develop this trait nearly enough. Sadly, it's because the writers or maybe Harlin don't really allow Lutz to speak. Lutz has a great, commanding voice here, which delivers lines with utmost, masculine authority, but I would have loved to have him converse with Hebe about his faith or lack thereof.

The filmmakers only want to hear Lutz whisper the occasional sweet-nothing to Hebe, the cliché, rousing speech to a phalanx of rebel soldiers or vengeful words when squaring off with the movie's villain, King Amphitryon, played by Scott Adkins. They keep him quiet otherwise, preferring to put him in the center of Zack Snyder-style action or matches that feel like they could be exhibitions for the WWE.

In 3D, Harlin delights at flinging arrows and spears directly into your eye, if not just past your head. He does a good job with framing and depth of field, making beautiful use of the Mediterranean area where he filmed or the millions put into the CGI, like the constant placement of fire in the foreground. I'm also sure millions went into the flower petals or pollen, which always floated around Lutz and Weiss during their lovey-dovey scenes.

As an action film with the occasionally interesting drama, this works. The two female characters, including Hebe and Queen Alcmene, played by Roxanne McKee, are better than your average in these kinds of movies. Yes, they're ultimately dismissed, but each one possesses a strength that I appreciated. The fight scenes never feel like they have any stakes, but I enjoyed the choreography of them. There was a slight gracefulness amid the brutality.

I certainly enjoyed this better than the last Clash of the Titans rip-off that Lutz did, Tarsem Singh's Immortals.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated PG-13 for intense combat action and violence and some sensuality.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 39 mins.


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