Popcorn movies: you know what it is.
THE LEGEND OF HERCULES (2014)
Back to the ancient Greek, where Renny Harlin fails to redeem his unbalanced career, I remember Cutthroat Island better than Die Hard 2 or Cliffhanger. There, this first Hercules movie released this year also fails to hit harder than just being any popcorn entertainment.
Hercules’ first and (possibly) only failure is the fact that this movie is about his origin. Hercules fights here and there mostly without knowing that he’s Zeus’ descendant–yet, he’s still Hercules, mortal’s mightiest foe. Across the screen, audiences know everything about him—making this story unbalanced.
Hercules (Kellan Lutz)–son of Queen Alcmene (Roxxane McKee), who is impregnanted by Zeus–is betrayed by his father King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins) who attempts to engage his son Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) to Hebe (Gaia Weiss)–the love of Hercules’ life. Sent to a battle his armies might never win, Hercules goes to a suicide mission. Yet, he’s Hercules we know, after all. Survived, this demigod makes his way back to his land as a fighter (we know, after all).
Even though, it tries to highlight Hercules’ origins, this movie appears flat and vintage. Most of the casts led by Lutz appear so toneless; the on-screen characters also appear so shallow. The Legend of Hercules only strikes on its fighting scenes which appear very flashy and 300-driven. Well, just do not bother on the plot; he’s Hercules, after all.
Director: Renny Harlin / Writers: Sean Hood, Daniel Giat, Renny Harlin, Giulio Steve / Music: Tuomas Kantelinen / Cinematography: Sam McCurdy / Editor: Vincent Tabaillon / Casts: Kellan Lutz, Gaia Weiss, Scott Adkins, Roxxane McKee, Liam Garrigan, Liam McIntyre
I, FRANKENSTEIN (2014)
Written as a graphic novel by Kevin Grevioux–author of Underworld–I, Frankenstein (not in the franchise of I, Robot) shares similar credo to the predecessor. Who transfers the beauty of Underworld into this film, I don’t know. Replacing immortal protagonist with Frankenstein. Replacing vampires-lycans battle with gargoyles-demons battle. Keeping the modern setting as it is.
Adam (Aaron Eckhart)–current creature made of 8 corpses by Victor Frankenstein (Aden Young)–stands in an endless battle of angelic gargoyles led by Leonore (Miranda Otto) against filthy demons led by frowning Naberius (Bill Nighy). Then, a scientist that sides with Naberius, Terra (Yvonne Strahovsky) shows up and grows queer chemistry with Adam. Will Adam end up like Shelley’s Frankenstein? It’s a cliche, after all.
One thing: I, Frankenstein looks like a little vile like Van Helsing–maybe it proves that modern adaptation of classic tale can’t pose better than just popcorn entertainment. How the tale is converted to the modern life shows not only vague CGI but also over-coreographed action. Fortunately, beautiful ensemble of casts has saved it–making way for Strahovsky to shine. Eckhart’s talent is not arguable and Nighy’s effort’s worth more than just box office flop.
Labelled as been-there-done-that project, I find it interesting to compare it to Underworld and nothing else.