THE LEGEND OF HERCULES (12A)
AFTER admiring the opening credits, it didn't take me long to realise one of the best things about this film is that it's only 99 minutes long.
For which, after 30 of them, you will, most likely, be very grateful.
Kellan Lutz stars as the mythical Greek hero, Hercules.
Exiled by his father the king, for falling in love with a neighbouring princess, scorned by his brother who is a wimpish and cowardly heir to the throne, Hercules finds himself sold into slavery where he has to prove his brutish might in order to survive, and return in time to rescue his love from the clutches of his evil brother.
Luckily, unbeknown to all but his mother, Hercules is actually the son of the God Zeus, so he has mighty powers which enable him to be stronger than anyone else when the need is required.
Which seems to be most of the time.
Directed by Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger but don't let that fool you), the action is swift, violent and utterly boring.
Twilight fans may remember Lutz as a secondary vampire in that franchise and there was probably a good reason for why he was not handed a leading role in those films.
The guy has about as much charisma and screen presence as a smoked kipper, although his pecks and biceps are surely to be admired, ut he will not be winning any acting honours.
Along with the rest of the (mostly unrecognisable) cast, the acting is hammed up in the extreme, with little attention to reality, and don't worry about trying to work out the hidden depths of the sub-plots because there aren't any.
This is pure surface, shallow stuff. Beat 'em up, cut their heads off and move on to the next scene.
The lack of 3D effects and CGI is stunning considering its budget. And I found the continual editing of fight scenes, and slowing down and speeding up of swinging swords dripping with a blood, more than a little monotonous.
Thank heavens Hercules has a chance to redeem himself later this year, when MGM's version starring Dwayne Johnson hits the big screen. You might want to wait and spend your money on that version instead. It can't be any worse than this.