There sure are a load of sword and sandal epics charging toward theaters in the coming year, and Hercules: The Legend Begins is definitely the runt of the litter. Be forewarned: this isn't the Brett Ratner production that Dwayne Johnson has been tweeting big muscly pictures of himself from for the better part of the year. This film features Kellan Lutz as a Hercules who must fulfill his destiny and overthrow a tyrannical king, but following his destiny would mean giving up his one true love, Hebe (Gaia Weiss).
It's unfortunate that this film faces the imposing competition of Ratner's high profile version of the character, and it's doubly unfortunate that the trailer for this film makes it look like a less-interesting version of 300 without all the visual panache or the neat hazy yellow filters that made that film stand out all the way back in 2006. This film has even picked up Zack Snyder's proclivity for slow-mo action, a trick that Snyder himself had seemingly lain to rest before shooting Man of Steel. Frankly, this film looks like a low-rent sequel to 300, when that film already has its own low-rent sequel heading to the screen in just a few months.
As roused as the trailer wants us to feel by power of Hercules' might, as it showcases the strongman defeating warriors in caged combat or swinging a sword wrapped in lightning bolts (okay, that was pretty rousing), it's hard to get excited for this. There are some real choice cuts of gladiator action heading our way in the coming months, and this one looks so generic. It's like someone took the leftover scraps of 300 and Troy and blended them up into a ground hash of brass shields and craggy Greek hills, but without any personality. Maybe it’s a decent appetizer, but who cares when the Rock will be serving up prime rib come July.