The Legend of Hercules 3D - Blu-ray Review - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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The Legend of Hercules 3D - Blu-ray Review

Title: The Legend of Hercules 3D


HTS Overall Score:84


Sword and Sandal movies have taken a large resurgence in the last few years. “Game of Thrones” is sweeping the world harder than even “The walking Dead” and “Spartacus” made a huge dent in the viewing time of people the world over. In the past “Hercules” has experienced a huge following. We’ve had everyone in the world have a hand at the legendary character (pun intended). Everything from the muscle bound Italian Americans of days past, to the famed governator, to a much more trim and mouthy Kevin Sorbo (of course the GREATEST Hercules). Now we have stunned pretty boys playing the demi-god of destruction. If “Twilight” wasn’t as great of a start for young men, we now have to have them cross over into the OTHER fantasy realm. When you match a cheesy action director (I love Renny Harlin, but I would never say that he’s exactly Martin Scorsesee level) and a hulking pretty boy together, you have to expect cheese, and plenty of velveeta is what we get.

King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins) is a walking tornado of destruction, A king who lives on the battlefield, his reign of destructions and tyranny cause him to be a loathed tyrant. So much so, that even his own bride (Roxanne McKee) wishes him dead and enters into an agreement with the goddess Zeus and Hera to carry Zeus’s son so that he might one day take down Amphitryon. 20 odd years after this fateful pact, the son, Alcide (Kellan Lutz) grows up with Amphitryon’s natural born son, and bears the mark of an unwanted child. Thrown to the back of the line in everything, including love, Alcide must watch as his older brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) take even the lovely princess Hebe of Crete from him. In a fit of passion, he and Hebe make a valiant run for the border, to run off into the distance and live a happily twilight after. Being only 20 minutes into the movie we all know the outcome. Alcide and Hebe are captured and Alcide sent off to war where he and his legion are ambushed in an effort to kill the prince.

Now Alcide must hide his true identity and go under the name his mother gave him, Hercules. Living as a gladiator, Hercules survives long enough to prove himself one of the greatest warriors of the arena. With such a legend around him, Hercules is sent to Greece once more, so that he can fight in King Amphitryon’s arena of death. There he gains his freedom and ferments a rebellion against his murderous Stepfather. Upon learning of her mother’s death at the hand of Amphitryon his rage knows no bounds and it is only a matter of time before the two legends must face off.

The film is shot in that glossy sort of “300” feel to the film with copious amounts of slo-mo shots and wire work galore, in order to show off the prowess of the Demi god. The actually interesting parts of the Hercules lore are left out here and instead it focuses on a goofy love interest that barely holds the story together long enough to lead into the next fight scene. Battles are copious, but surprisingly tame, even for PG-13 standards. The only real stand out in the whole slew of battles is watching Scott Adkins ham it is up as the psychopath king. Scott is famed for being an absolutely incredible martial artist and fight choreographer, so it’s pure cinematic gold to see him lose his cool, gritty composured characters that he normally plays and see him go all “Van Damme” in a slather of Ham and crackers. Kellan Lutz stumbles through the movies as a baked hulk who’s had a few too many HGH injections and would look more at home on the California beaches rather than the stage.

With so much cheese you can see why this bombed at the box office. It feels more like it would have been better put straight to DVD rather than be criticized at the theatrical levels, where it might have garnered better press. For while it’s not a great film, it is nowhere near the bottom of the barrel. For in DTV standards it’s actually pretty decent, with some fun fight scenes and the final 20 minutes actually show some fun potential. THE CGI is poor, the acting is poor, and even the director seems to waste his potential here. It’s not at that stage where it’s so bad that it’s good, but in no way can it be considered a decent movie by itself. The best I can say that it’s a cheesy one time watch that has some spectacular 3D thrown in the mix.


Rated PG-13 for sequences of intense combat action and violence, and for some sensuality

“The Legend of Hercules” sports a fantastic looking 2.40:1 encode that looks as good as one can expect, straight from the digital tap. The movie is clean and clear as can be, as done with the impeccable Red EPIC cameras, giving it a sort of shiny digital feel. Almost a mix between “Immortals” and “300”, without the artificial grain of “300”. Colors are a mix of Teal and Gold in the grading process, texturing it in the modern sword and sandal type of movie that we are familiar with. The black levels are exquisite, for a majority of the film is bathed in darkness, whether it be the pouring rain, or the bowels of a dark and tormented castle. Detail is impeccable, giving us plenty to see, even in the darkness. Contrasts are nice and balanced with excellent skin tones. The only slight digital anomaly was the occasional instance of digital noise in the darkest of scene. While there, it is only a slight bit and really only noticeable if you try to look for it. While the color grading is heavily teal and golden, with brown, earthy tones, there are several scenes, particularly the lake scenes, where more natural colors are a play, giving birth to a plethora of greens, pinks, whites and reds. While the film itself isn’t exactly going to rival citizen Kane, Renny Harlin did a very good job at filming the movie to satisfy those of us who like a good video presentation.

The 3D for “The Legend of Hercules” is actually quite impressive. The film certainly has its fair share of “pop out” moments, things like arrows shooting at the viewer’s faces, the obligatory rocks flying up and hitting soldiers point blank etc, but there is quite a bit of depth to the picture as well. The backgrounds and effects look quite stunning if you look for them. The sheets and curtains maintain a life of their own as they shimmer and shift in a photo realistic matter, little curls of smoke almost seem disembodied as they float up in what seems like right next to you. The characters themselves showed a bit of cross talk and ghosting, but that was about the only real flaw that I could see. I was expecting it to be sumptuous beyond belief, for the theatrical 3D was supposedly incredible, but in my opinion, this home presentation was just “good”.

What I love about big, dumb action films, is the fact that they are almost always accompanied by a big, dumb action sound track. Here is no different. Lionsgate gives us a monster of a 7.1 DTS-HD MA track that trembles and vibrates with every footstep of the legendary demi-god. The LFE track sends waves of deep low end throughout the entire film, from the shaking of the battle armor, to the bone crunching shield slams in the arena. Not only is it powerful, the LFE manages to be intricately detailed and accurate as well, blending seamlessly into the film with a myriad of tones, instead of satisfied to be a one note boom track. Directionality is fantastic, as the track immerses the viewer with a constant barrage of surround information. What makes it even better is the fact that not only does the track like to be loud and boisterous, it gives us a plethora of minutely detailed ambient noises, from the crunch of footsteps on sand, to the creaking of a door in the background. My only real complain was with the dialogue. While most of the time it was perfectly balanced, I noticed that the dialogue would get muffled behind the weight of the rest of the track, leaving me to turning it up several times to try and understand what was being said. A track, this short of perfection, it once again proves that Lionsgate really loves their action sound tracks.


• Audio Commentary with Kellan Lutz and Director Renny Harlin
• The Making of "The Legend of Hercules"


I didn’t get the sheer loathing that the critics gave to “The Legend of Hercules” in the theaters. It was nowhere near the worst movie of the year as portrayed. It IS a poorly written movie that only really ties together the minutes between fight scenes, but it’s still fun to watch, especially for the 3D presentation, which really shines. I have a weakness for big, dumb action movies, and this one doesn’t even come close to being a guilty pleasure, but I did have fun for an hour and a half and don’t see why a good rental isn’t in order, especially if you like good 3D and great audio. The lack of extras is disappointing, but then again, this isn't exactly the type of film that you're going to be pouring hours of your life into finding out all the minute details behind the scenes. It's much more a watch it once and forget it type of affair.

Additional Information:

Starring: Kellan Lutz, Gaia Weiss, Scott Adkins
Directed by: Renny Harlin
Written by: Sean Hood, Daniel Giat
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, Spanish DD 5.1, English DD 2.0
Studio: Lionsgate
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 99 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: April 29th, 2014

Buy The Legend of Hercules 3D Blu-ray on Amazon

Recommendation: Rental

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