Maybe you were planning to see Hercules while you were really drunk, since this epic historical actioner sure looks kind of funny–but now you’re noticing that Hercules has also gotten some pretty solid reviews. There’s a reason for that. Hercules really is a lot of fun. We recommend seeing it drunk, of course, but you’re not going to suffer through this one if you’re sober.
And part of what makes Hercules so impressive is that it’s full of surprises. Not all of them seem like fun at first, but the movie keeps paying off through its quick running time. There’s still no reason for a guy to go in blind, though. It can’t hurt to know about a few things to expect, and at least two more things that you really don’t want to miss. So start catching up with the 10 things that you’ll really need to know before hitting the multiplexes…
Hercules begins like a huge bait-and-switch
See that lion? It’s a major part of the ad campaign, and we were really sold on Hercules when we saw that the mythical Hydra was going to be featured in the movie. We mean the giant multi-headed snake, not the Marvel Universe bad guys. Anyway, it turns out that the lion and the Hydra and a lot of other really cool moments are tossed off as part of the Hercules myth in the first five minutes of the movie. That got us pretty worried about the rest of the film.
That opening also includes Karolina Szymczak as Hercules’ mother
Yeah. She’s in a skimpy robe, too. We recommend seeing this one in IMAX 3D–since you also get some other major hotties of Hercules, too. But don’t miss the first five minutes.
Hercules isn’t really a fantasy film
This isn’t really spoilerish, since guys deserve to know why the Hydra and giant lion aren’t around after the opening. Hercules is really the story of a mercenary who gets work by pretending to be a demigod–with a comic-relief cousin whose job is to run around and provide color commentary while Hercules wages war.
Hercules isn’t a kiddie film
You won’t hear about outraged parents yanking their kids out of screenings, but Hercules is really more like 300 with cunnilingus jokes. You won’t be the only (sort of) adult in the theater. (That’s Irina Shayk as Mrs. Hercules, by the way.)
The movie stays based in fact, but you do get one bonus monster
It’s actually a vital plot point, too–although the monster wouldn’t exist if Hercules hadn’t gotten as crunk as we did while watching the movie. And, no, it’s not this pig. That’s another cool thing you won’t see after the first five minutes.
This one really makes up for The Scorpion King
It’s kind of amazing that Dwayne Johnson ever became a movie star after making his proper debut in The Scorpion King way back in 1999. That period actioner was really lousy. There’s a reason that The Rock held off for a long time before returning to sand and sandals.
Brett Ratner has finally made a decent movie
We’re not saying that Hercules is Oscar material, but director Brett Ratner really hasn’t fumbled this movie–like, say, he did with X-Men: The Last Stand. This is easily Ratner’s best film since 2002’s Red Dragon, which kind of worked as a studio’s desperate attempt to get one more turn from Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. Red Dragon had Ralph Fiennes, and Hercules has his brother Joseph, so maybe the family is Ratner’s good luck charm.
Rufus Sewell is a good guy
Fans of Dark City and other movies will be pretty relieved to see that Rufus Sewell isn’t once again cast as a craven king or scheming general. He’s really Hercules’ mercenary pal who also handles plenty of comic relief. It’s kind of funny that Hercules has Joseph Fiennes and Rufus Sewell and John Hurt to make up the classiest cast to ever land in a Brett Ratner movie.
There’s a character named Phineas, but not a character named Ferb
There goes a great in-joke.
That song during the end credits isn’t “The Stroke”
We were pretty baffled when this perfectly fun movie ended with the opening chords of Billy Squier’s biggest hit–but we’re happy to report that the song is really “Jungle” by Jamie N Commons and X Ambassadors. It’s pretty good. Better than “The Stroke.”