Wooden sword and sandal epic

Hercules Paramount/MGM Rating: 14A 98 minutes

While the world is not desperate for yet another remake of Hercules, this latest version is decent summer entertainment.

Dwayne Johnson, with his bulging muscles well displayed in his skimpy costumes, plays our classic hero, reputedly the son of Zeus. The movie catches him later in his career, when he’s basically a mercenary for hire, along with his band of faithful followers. While the world considers him a popular demi-god, and he is something of a contemporary celebrity, there are nasty rumours that he murdered his wife and three children.

The king of Thrace (John Hurt) hires him and his band of professional fighters to put down ferocious rebels in a civil war. Our hero carries the day in some action-packed but surprisingly gore-free battles. They may be the best thing in the movie. However, it turns out the Thracian king has another not-so-nice agenda and Herc and his crew have more battles to fight.

While the movie’s plot is simple and the acting and dialogue are somewhat wooden, it also displays an enjoyable sense of humour. Some of the best lines come from Ian McShane, who plays one of Hercules’ buddies and sees his forthcoming death in a battle. The special effects are often hokey, but those battle scenes are well done. It’s not an outstanding sword and sandal movie, but in a comic book sort of way, Hercules is fun to watch.

Rating: three deer out of five

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Alf Cryderman is a Red Deer freelance writer and old movie buff.