Summit via Everett Collection
You can imagine that Renny Harlin, director and one quadrant of the writing team for The Legend of Hercules, began his pitch as such: We'll start with a war, because lots of these things start with wars. It feels like this was the principal maxim behind a good deal of the creative choices in this latest update of the Ancient Greek myth. There are always horse riding scenes. There are generally arena battles. There are CGI lions, when you can afford 'em. Oh, and you've got to have a romantic couple canoodling at the base of a waterfall. Weaving them all together cohesively would be a waste of time — just let the common threads take form in a remarkably shouldered Kellan Lutz and action sequences that transubstantiate abjectly to and fro slow-motion.
But pervading through Lutz's shirtless smirks and accent continuity that calls envy from Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland performance is the obtrusive lack of thought that went into this picture. A proverbial grab bag of "the basics" of the classic epic genre, The Legend of Hercules boasts familiarity over originality. So much so that the filmmakers didn't stop at Hercules mythology... they barely started with it, in fact. There's more Jesus Christ in the character than there is the Ancient Greek demigod, with no lack of Gladiator to keep things moreover relevant. But even more outrageous than the void of imagination in the construct of Hercules' world is its script — a piece so comically dim, thin, and idiotic that you will laugh. So we can't exactly say this is a totally joyless time at the movies.
Summit via Everett Collection
Surrounding Hercules, a character whose arc takes him from being a nice enough strong dude to a nice enough strong dude who kills people and finally owns up to his fate — "Okay, fine, yes, I guess I'm a god" — are a legion of characters whose makeup and motivations are instituted in their opening scenes and never change thereafter. His de facto stepdad, the teeth-baring King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), despises the boy for being a living tribute to his supernatural cuckolding; his half-brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) is the archetypical scheming, neutered, jealous brother figure right down to the facial scar. The dialogue this family of mongoloids tosses around is stunningly brainless, ditto their character beats. Hercules can't understand how a mystical stranger knows his identity, even though he just moments ago exited a packed coliseum chanting his name. Iphicles defies villainy and menace when he threatens his betrothed Hebe (Gaia Weiss), long in love with Hercules, with the terrible fate of "accepting [him] and loving [their] children equally!" And the dad... jeez, that guy must really be proud of his teeth.
With no artistic feat successfully accomplished (or even braved, really) by this movie, we can at the very least call it inoffensive. There is nothing in The Legend of Hercules with which to take issue beyond its dismal intellect, and in a genre especially prone to regressive activity, this is a noteworthy triumph. But you might not have enough energy by the end to award The Legend of Hercules with this superlative. Either because you'll have laughed yourself into a coma at the film's idiocy, or because you'll have lost all strength trying to fend it off.
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They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But why imitate when you can innovate? First, America’s Next Drag Superstar Jinkx Monsoon and Ivy Winters created this legendary fantasy recasting of Death Becomes Her. Then Willam Belli appeared in this gay YouTube spoof, “Rambo, But Gay.”
That got the gears turning. What other movies could use a little bit of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent? Here are 10 movies with biological women that could use the full drag race treatment.
10. DreamGirls - This had to be on the list. Latrice Royale is is large, in charge, chunky, yet funky. She’s bold and beautiful so she is a clear fit to play Effie White. Dancing queen Milan is the perfect fit to play sensitive Lorrell Robinson. Tyra Sanchez fancies herself Beyoncé, but she can’t sing. So Deena Jones would have to be played by the America’s first drag superstar, BeBe Zahara Benet.
9. Steel Magnolias - Queen Latifah made an African American version of the popular film. Couldn’t it be possible to have an all Puerto Rican version? Imagine maternal Nina Flowers instead of Sally Field, spunky Carmen Carrera instead of Julia Roberts, Jessica Wild instead of mousy Daryl Hannah, Alexis Mateo and her breast plate instead of Dolly Parton, Madam LaQueer in Olympia Dukakis’ role and finally Yara Sophia giving you Shirley MacLaine realness.
8. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? - They may be old friends, but, Chad Michaels and Shannel would be great at playing feuding sisters Jane (Betty Davis) and Blanche (Joan Crawford).
7. The Craft - There has to be a spooktacular choice for Sharon Needles and Rulaskatox. When innocent Sara (Sharon Needles) moves to town she meets three witches, (Alaska, Detox and Roxxxy Andrews). What follows is black magic, black clothes and really heavy eyeliner.
6. Bring it On: All or Nothing - These queens are most likely to go direct-to-video. But their feud did make the fifth season of the show very entertaining. When Alyssa Edwards family moves and enrolls her in public school she has to join the cheerleading squad run by Coco Montrese. Expect plenty of reading!
5. Mean Girls - When Tatianna moves to a new town she gets on the radar of The Heathers (Raja, Manila Luzon and Delta Work). Her friends Shangela and Stacy Layne Matthews convince her to play both sides and take them down.
4. Big Business - Manila Luzon and Jujubee play two sets of twins in a remake of this Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin Classic.
3. Nine to Five - Pandora Boxx plays spunky Doralee Rhodes (Parton), Ivy Winters plays sweet-as-pie Judy Bernley (Jane Fonda) and Raven plays snarky Violet Newstead (Tomlin).
2. She-Devil - After an actress (Willam Belli) ruins her life, a jilted housewife (Mimi Imfurst) plans her destruction. With the help of a pint-sized friend (Kenya Michels) they get their revenge.
1. Troop Beverly Hills - All the Drag Race girls could star in a remake of this popular 90s. It'd be great, if only, to see them do a drag rendition of " It's Cookie Time." Clearly, Mama Ru would play Shelly Long's part.
Who would you love to see in a movie remake?