Movie Review - The Legend of Hercules 3D
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.
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.