Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Eye Candy: Kellan Lutz in The Legend of Hercules

6'1" Kellan Christopher Lutz was born in 1985 in Dickinson, North Dakota.

Lutz modelled as a teenager and his first acting role was in a 2004 episode of The Bold and the Beautiful.  His "big break" came in 2008 when he was cast in the Twilight film series.

Hercules was not Lutz' first sword and sandal outing.  He played Poseidon in Tarsem Singh's Immortals (2011).

Lutz is now well-known as a Calvin Klein underwear model.  He certainly has the body of a god even if he doesn't look remotely Greek.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Legend of Hercules (2014)

The Legend of Hercules was released on January 10, 2014.  Directed by Renny Harlin (Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger), the film tells the story of Hercules (Kellan Lutz) from birth to young adulthood. 

The film is set in 1200 BCE and opens in Argos where King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins) proves his prowess in battle.  Amphitryon is portrayed as a cold, arrogant man.

While Amphitryon is off celebrating his victory, his wife, Alcmene (Roxanne McKee), is visited by Zeus in the form of a ray of light.  Alcmene is impregnated and gives birth to Hercules.

Amphitryon doesn't quite know what's gone on but he's reasonably sure that Hercules is not his son.  Later, a second son, Iphicles (Liam Garrigan), is born and becomes the favourite.  Iphicles is not a skilled warrior and he grows up jealous of his elder brother.  Iphicles is also covetous of Hebe (Gaia Weiss), Hercules' main squeeze.

We see the brothers in battle against the Nemean Lion.  Hercules defeats the creature and saves Iphicles' life but Iphicles takes credit for the deed, earning praise from Amphitryon.  Amphitryon and Hebe's father have made a deal and Hebe has been promised to Iphicles as his wife.  Hercules is sent off to fight a war in Egypt with Sotiris (Liam McIntyre, with a really bad haircut).

In Egypt, Hercules and Sotiris find they have been betrayed.  Amphitryon has made a deal with the Egyptians who are supposed to kill Hercules.  Our hero and Sotiris survive and give false names, telling the Egyptians that Hercules is amongst the dead soldiers.

Hercules and Sotiris are sold into slavery and become gladitators for a man called Lucius (Kenneth Cranham).  They save each other's lives and become the best of friends.

Back in Greece, Alcmene, thinking Hercules has been killed, confesses to Amphitryon that Zeus was Hercules' father.  In a jealous rage, Amphitryon murders his wife.

Meanwhile, Hercules and Sotiris have become gladiatorial stars, winning great acclaim for Lucius.  They convince the slave owner to take them back to Greece so they can compete in the greatest games ever.  If they survive, they will win their freedom (I found it amusing that Liam McIntyre's costume covered his pecs so as not to compete with the star).

The brothers in arms win their freedom and Sotiris is reunited with his family, and Hercules with Hebe.

Iphicles discovers his brother is alive and captures him.  Hercules is displayed publically in chains in an homage to Hercules Unchained.

Hercules calls on his father for help and Zeus imbues his son with the strength to set himself free.  

 Hercules defeats Iphicles and Amphitryon and a legend is born.

This film is nothing new but it's entertaining enough.  Kellan Lutz is certainly perfectly cast in the sword and sandal genre.  I found many of the design elements were more Roman than Greek.  Certainly, the architecture was of a much later period than 1200 BCE.  The gladiatorial plot elements and the Egyptian stuff were also historically anachronistic.

The film is available in various formats inclduing 3D and 2D Blu-ray and DVD.  It did poorly with critics and audiences alike so there's little hope for a sequel.  It was also pitted against Brett Ratner's Hercules (2014) featuring Dwayne Johnson -- a film which had more buzz from the beginning.