The Hollywood recycling machine is at it again, cranking out two strikingly similar movies from one seemingly novel concept. This time around, mythological Greek hero Hercules is the ostensibly lucky character receiving two blockbuster updates within a few months of each other. While we have yet to see a trailer for Hercules: The Thracian Wars, which stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson of Fast Five fame, a new preview for the Kellan Lutz-starring Hercules: The Legend Begins hit the web today.
As directed by Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger), Hercules: The Legend Begins charts the origins of Hercules, though unfortunately you wouldn’t know it from the preview. The clip, which you can check out below, makes the fatal flaw of attempting to cram its entire plot into just over two minutes of footage:
The movie’s influences are pretty obvious from the get-go; Harlin’s take resembles a cinematic hodgepodge of Starz’s Spartacus series, Gladiator and 300, only with far less capable performers. Lutz hardly says a word throughout the trailer, and when he finally opens his finely chiseled mouth to spout thoroughly wooden platitudes, it’s pretty obvious why.
The official synopsis for Hercules: The Legend Begins reads:
In 1200 B.C. Greece, a queen gives birth to a son, fathered by Zeus, who is destined to overthrow the tyrannical rule of the king and restore peace to a suffering land. But this prince, Hercules, knows nothing of his real identity or his destiny. He wants only the love of Hebe, Princess of Crete, who has been promised to his brother. When Hercules learns of his greater purpose, he must choose: to flee with his true love or to fulfill his destiny and become the true hero of his time.
So, based on that summary, Lutz’s Hercules will be a mighty, super-powered warrior but also a lovelorn, dewy-eyed cream-puff? I can’t wait… until Johnson’s take delivers an ancient Greek-style smack-down to this movie at the box-office.
To be fair, the film’s screenplay, from Conan the Barbarian scribe Sean Hood and a few unknown screenwriters, wouldn’t inspire much confidence even if the Hercules: The Legend Begins boasted Russell Crowe in the lead role.
With the film’s early release, Millenium Films is clearly making the same kind of bid that worked out so well for Olympus Has Fallen – after securing a spring release date, Olympus Has Fallen‘s less prestigious cast and far smaller budget didn’t prevent that thriller from becoming a smash hit (comparatively, July’s White House Down crashed and burned).
However, Olympus Has Fallen did feature Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart, hardly unknown actors, while Hercules: The Legend Begins can only boast a supporting actor from the Twilight series. The jury’s still out on whether this swords-and-sandals action flick will draw a crowd but, personally, I’d bet that Johnson’s Hercules: The Thracian Wars, scheduled for July 25th next year, will mash this competitor to a pulp.
What do you think of the trailer? Is Lutz charismatic enough to carry a film on his own, or is this movie just a flop in the making? Sound off in the comments section!
Hercules: The Legend Begins will enter the box-office arena on January 10th, 2014.