That’s what this movie is about. We are presented with a Hercules that is more human than demi-god, albeit an extremely impressive human in the form of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. His legends are hinted and revealed to be the actions of a very strong and skilled, but still mortal soldier. A hero without a purpose who lost his soul, and the glimmer of potential for something more.
Now all of this is presented in the form of a fun sword-and-sandal action flick. I am very much a lifelong fan of the genre, so if the movie had only gone so far as to present a fun action story based on greek myth I would still have been happy. Luckily, the filmmakers decided to take it a step further and show us the story of a mortal hero becoming more than man.
Alright, so this movie takes place after Hercules has completed his famous twelve labors, so he’s famous to the people of the world. Something happened in his past, anyone familiar with the stories of Hercules would have a good idea of this issue, for the rest of you it involves his family. Now he wanders the world with his loyal band of soldiers as mercenaries. Fighting for gold, but still doing a little good here and there. We all know the drill.
Then he gets hired to help a king fend off some nasty invaders with an army of farmers. What’s a hero to do? Naturally we pull a Seven Samurai and train those guys into a crack force able to fight back. As the story progresses we learn more about Hercules the man, see that there is more to him than the legend, but also less. He is definitely mortal at this point, but much like the excellent Unbreakable we do not know exactly how normal he is or is not.
It means reaching a peak of something, or the deification of a mortal. Becoming the best and then transcending mortality. I think history would agree that the best stories all have this in common. Hercules, Buddha, Jesus, Elvis, Bruce Lee… they all share that journey.
In conclusion, this is the best Hercules movie ever made. Anyone who says otherwise is dumb. Clearly we’re all jerks for not seeing it and boosting the box office numbers, so let’s at least get the DVD.
Well, I’m not a jerk. I can still see it in October because movies come out stupidly late here in Japan. But all of you in America need to make amends, so go check it out when you can.