‘The Legend of Hercules’ Is A Labor of Hate [MOVIE REVIEW]

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Phil is an authorblogger and Twitterer.

RATING: 1 star (out of 4)

While The Legend of Hercules is one of the most awful movies you’re (un)likely to see, it’s not without some redeeming moments. If you cut out all the stupid dramatic fluff and kept the awesome unintended comedy, you’d end up with a wacky, eight-minute laugh-fest that would kill on Funny or Die.

Just imagine the following:

Herc rasslin’ with a CGI lion that looks as though it was created in Mario Paint.

Herc’s mom, who appears to be younger than both Herc and his Evil Jealous Bro, delivering stern lectures to the boys.

Zeus, in invisible wind form, making passionate love to Herc’s mom, while her husband and his mistress barge on on them.

Chest-waxed dudes sharing special moments in the manner of the Top Gun beach volleyball scene.

Well, maybe there’s only enough material for a five-minute Funny or Die video. But it’s a wonder that there’s anything at all worth saving in this disgraceful mess of a movie, which tries to capture the magic of better swords-and-sandals epics but just ends up embarrassing itself.

You just feel bad for the no-name cast, all of whom will have to play demo reels from the movie at the unemployment office to prove that they’re out there trying to work. The scowly Kellan Lutz plays the half-God hero, who is sold into slavery by his evil stepdad and ends up fighting gladiators and his daddy issues in the ring. It seems Zeus, like Shawn Kemp, has trouble keeping up with all his offspring.

Director Renny Harlin and company played a little fast and loose with the sacred source material. For instance, they left out certain things that Greek mythology experts expect, such as the talking weird, horned troll thingy that sounds like Danny DeVito, as well as Kevin Sorbo.

What Harlin and his harlequins did remember to do, though, is swipe the plot of Gladiator wholesale. There’s also plenty of copying off the paper of 300, with super slow-mo shots of Greek soldiers leaping LeBron-high into the air, teabagging their opponents before impaling them with their swords.

There are no labors and not much mystical stuff going on, most likely because Harlin blew the budget on that awful Mario Paint lion. All you get are a series of inconsequential battles, predictable, overly long death scenes of good guys and lots and lots of bare-chested dudes grunting. Kind of like UFC.

The saddest part about this sad, sad, sad movie is that it’s only the fluffer for the real Hercules movie, due out later this year, which stars Dwayne Johnson, Rufus Sewell and Ian McShane. The highest hope for this poor, cut-rate Hercules is that it lives on to be made fun of in a future season of Arrested Development, which reunited the cast of the black sheep 1994 Fantastic Four movie for sport.

And sadder still are the movie’s audiences, like the three unfortunate people, most likely not paid to be there like me, who were stuck with me in the theater. The strength they showed by managing to sit through this thing puts that of Herc to shame.

Starring Kellan Lutz, Gaia Weiss, Scott Adkins and Roxanne McKee. Written by Daniel Giat, Renny Harlin, Sean Hood and Giulio Steve. Directed by Harlin. 99 minutes. Rated PG-13.

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