The good thing about The Asylum mockbusting
Hercules is at least they can't be sued by anybody. I
don't think so anyway. Monster Cables tried to sue
people who used the word Monster and now San Diego Comic-con
is suing folks who use the word 'comic-con' for their
conventions, so you never know. Homer might be
somewhere, even as we speak, planning his legal
strategy. Of course this prattle is neither here nor
there as we prep to discuss with you 'Hercules Reborn', a
different type of Hercules movie to be sure.
Our film begins with a completely enraged Hercules (John
Hennigan) murdering his family. Kudos to the filmmakers
as this really did happen in the mythology. Not much
else we are going to see actually happened, but at least this
did. Fast forward a bit to some kingdom where we get to
see this films true star, the warrior Arius (Christian Oliver)
engage in fun sword play with his BFF Horace (James
Duval). Key to this is that we get to observe that Arius
is a master swordsman, I guess, and that he has impressed this
kingdoms scurvy general Nikos (Dylan Vox), and finally we see
that he has a hot girlfriend in Princess Theodora (Christina
Ulfsparre). Again, this is neither here nor there in
relation to this movie, but actress Christina Ulfsparre bears
more than a passing resemblance to Lindsay Lohan. That
is no insult, really.
Everything is just awesome right now for Arius… the love of a
good woman, the respect of his friends, and a promotion to
captain in the King's Guard, but alas this will be short
lived. General Nikos has gone to the king and demanded
that they start conquering stuff, and mind you, Nikos makes
some pretty valid points as to why they should do this.
The king however is all benevolent and whatnot and doesn't
believe in conquering stuff. So much for the king, and
the princess is taken hostage.
The problem, of course, is that Arius was
going to marry into the family and the newly crowned King
Nikos isn't the friendliest king around so Arius needs to
storm the castle, rescue the princess and return rule back to
normal. But to do this Arius figures he needs the might
of the one they call Hercules, which his friends are convinced
is nothing but a myth. Well, Hercules is real all right,
but when Arius and his boys find him, he's little but a
stumbling, bumbling drunk… albeit one who still clearly works
out a lot.
There's a reason for this, of course, and Hercules will tell
us this story eventually, after a whole lot of other stuff
happens. Stuff like Hercules alternatively hacking
people to bits then barfing because he drinks too much.
Stuff like Nikos making sweet beautiful love to the princess
while she's bound in cast iron shackles. Stuff like
Nikos murdering children.
Eventually though, Hercules will get himself together.
Kind of. And the siege of the castle will happen.
In a way. After Hercules snaps the necks of the people
who he is supposed to be helping. It's
complicated. Will Nikos get his? You know he will,
but it's too bad really because he was kind of entertaining to
Let's go ahead and compare that new Hercules movie, which I
haven't seen yet, to The Asylum's take on Hercules.
Musclebound wrestler as your lead? Check. And
that's it. Our Hercules will not be battling mythical
beasts or wooing wenches or any of that stuff. No sir,
that stuff costs a lot of money, even though I suspect this
particular piece of cinema was one of The Asylum's more
expensive features. Our Hercules needs therapy, is what
he needs. No time to fight mythical beasts and stuff
when one is constantly wallowing in self-pity and drinking
one's life away. In fact, our Hercules is barely a
badass. A Nemean Lion would totally f**k this guy
up. That Lion would seriously be sporting the skin of
Hercules over his shoulder. But that's not altogether a
bad thing that Hercules often struggled to kick the ass of
just one dude, because it humanizes him. Would I rather
see Hercules killing mythical beasts? Sure I would, but
this is what we got, so this is what we are going to weigh in
The truth of the matter, at least in my opinion, is that
'Hercules Reborn' wasn't so bad, all things considered.
The decision to make Hercules less than heroic hero was an
interesting one, and while we might not have traveled that
path personally, at least it worked well in the context that
it was presented. And to that end John Hennigan did an
admirable job as Hercules the drunk bastard. In fact
most of the acting was at least tolerable, though Dylan Vox
pretty much steals what little thunder there was to steal as
General Nikos. I was thinking they might've wanted to
find him a gladiator helmet that actually fit, as opposed to
the one they had bobbling around on his head, but at least
they only made him wear it once. The thing that made
Vox's Nikos interesting was that he played his evil from a
place of caring. Sure he's murdering children, but it's
all for the greater good, at least in his mind. He sold
me on that.
True, there are the usual issues with pacing, some of the
acting, and scope, but at least we got a reasonably competent,
and dare I say entertaining mockbuster this time around.
Dare I say?