American critics are being held back from "Hercules," starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as the legendary human-god hybrid, until almost the literal last second: They'll see the movie at 6 p.m. Thursday, just an hour before the first ticketed screenings. But their U.K. brethren and sistren got an early peek at Brett Ratner's movie, with mixed but not-unintriguing results. Here's what the lucky [sic] few had to say.
Reviews of "Hercules"
Tom Huddleston, Time Out
It’s no great surprise that "Hercules" is a complete mess: the plot barely hangs together, the characters are meagerly sketched and the 3D digital effects are plasticky, indistinct and wearying to look at. The script contains a handful of decent comic asides and there’s one great mid-battle moment where Herc throws a horse, but on the whole this is decidedly non-legendary.
Ryan Lambie, Den of Geek
There is a self-mocking quality to much of the dialogue, and the battle scenes are staged with commendable vigor. One secret Ratner refuses to divulge is whether this is a full-on spoof or whether he is actually making the film in deadly earnest. Whatever the case, it’s all good, idiotic matinee entertainment.
Peter Bradshaw, Guardian
There were no cigars in those days, but if there were, Hercules might well have felt the need to spark one up; instead, he must content himself with other alpha-male mannerisms, such as removing from around his neck the tooth from the Nemean lion he defeated, and presenting it to a wide-eyed little boy who hero-worships him.
Mark Adams, Screen International
"Hercules" is blessed with a real sense of epic scale and delivers plenty of rather engagingly old-fashioned fantasy action-adventure. It may well be no action classic and certainly lacks the sheer directorial grace or visceral mayhem of films like "Gladiator" or "300," but it is an impressive piece of mainstream entertainment.
Since embargo's dropped, I'll admit I had some fun with HERCULES, and will attempt to give it the time of day. It's better than you think.
— Tim Robey (@trim_obey) July 23, 2014