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Above is the trailer to Hercules, a low-budget independent film about a group of toothpick salesmen who – aw, who are we kidding? It's The Rock punching things. Brett Ratner's big summer epic is nearing it's July 25th release date, which means this might be the final trailer to sell us all on the idea that any mythical beast would stand a chance against Dwayne Johnson in a fight.
They've also released this fancy new poster, which goes out of it's way to emphasize that Dwayne Johnson is in this, and nothing else matters. Pushing Johnson's star power emphasizes that he's been in five films over the last four years to cross $100 million domestic, with a sixth one (Fast And Furious 7) coming next year. But those movies were all franchise pictures, sold on the premise instead of the presence of Johnson. Hercules marks the first time in aa while that he has been front-and-center in a big budget film, which feels overdue since he's clearly one of the most-liked celebrities in Hollywood.
But is it enough? The trailer doesn't seem to sell much else besides the presence of Johnson. For one, the conflict is still unclear, so it just seems like a bunch of interconnected, and not particularly exciting-looking action sequences. For another, this is Johnson doing deadly serious, though he's often beloved for his smile and go-get-'em demeanor. His Hercules seems much quieter, more humble; the public's perception of Hercules has always been as a massive truck of a God, a man who could lift anything, fight anyone, and cackle his way to victory. Does this Hercules even look very different than this year's The Legend Of Hercules, which apparently came out earlier this year and had something called a Kellan Lutz?
But, again, this is Hercules. This is a character who has a cinematic legacy bathed in glorious cheese, a character who was viewed as sort of cheerful cornball, even when Steve Reeves played him during the 1950s. This is a b-movie, absent of pretension, a rare commodity when our movies about giant monsters and flying people run two and a half hours long and attempt to say something about "our contemporary life."
It's gonna be the end of July, it's going to be so hot your sweat beads will sweat, and you're going to want to sit in an air-conditioned theater and watch Ian McShane babble some listless exposition so that Hercules knows what three-headed monsters to punch. Sometimes life is simple. Sometimes all you need is Hercules.