Hercules (collaborative review by Doug Smith and Butch Miller)
In the first of a long and tedious series of Hercules films, “Hercules” follows our hero on his journies as he helps Jason locate the Golden Fleece. For some unknown reason, this foreign import became quite successful in America, bringing in about $5 million. Not bad for a movie made on a budget of $60 and a case of Milwaukee’s Best. What with the clothing, or lack thereof, perhaps its 1959 American release foreshadows the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Either that or I’m high and just trying to sound like Jack Perkins.
Steve Reeves, who should really be wearing a bra, does his damndest to play Hercules, an admittedly basic role, that pushes big, dumb Steve to his limits. Herc’s love interest, Iole, is performed with a modicum of talent by Sylva Koscina. The Italian look-alike of James Dean with curly hair, Fabrizio Mioni, plays Jason. And, finally, Gabriele Antonini plays the overly joyful (read, “gay” — never mind that ALL Greek warriors were gay) Ulysses, Herc’s sidekick. And that’s how it really happened — Ulysses played second fiddle so screw you, Homer! Odyssey this, pal!
The movie starts out with Princess Iole losing control of her horse-drawn carriage (manufactured by Fordicus, I believe) and interrupting the Hercmeister’s lunch. Herc rescues her and is instantly smitten by her good looks and charm. Again, we won’t mention the whole gay Greek thing. Yeah, Herc liked women. Ok. He rides back to her city (Jolco? Jocko? Jerko? Jacko?) with her. On the same horse. Even though they have a carriage. I’m sorry, but as enjoyable as that may be for a half hour or so, wouldn’t it be a lot more comfortable in the carriage? Although, Herc IS a demigod, afterall…
After hours of sitting on the saddlehorn, they finally arrive at the city, and we can’t help but assume Iole is impregnated by this point. Iole’s father, the king, is quite happy to see the Hercster. His son, however, remains unimpressed. Loving and doting father that he is, the king basically tells his son to shut up. Once the rest of the men of the kingdom find out that an immortal is in the area, Herc Fever strikes! In what seems to be a Gore Vidal dream sequence, they all strip down to their scivvies and begin practicing to be just like Herc.
And then some stuff happens. And some more stuff, none of it interesting or even intelligible. And then the king’s son gets killed by a lion, and, in turn, Herc kills the lion. But the king gets pissed off anyway and throws a curse on Hercules. And some things take place. And some events occur. Keep in mind that all of these events and things are in no way related to one another.
Then Hercules meets Jason and they find the Technicolor Coat … er … Golden Fleece and they live happily ever after. Or something.
Well, given the incoherentness of my summary, I think it’s pretty obvious that this movie will be the very first recipient of the Moldy Yak Turd award. It was just so reprehensible on so many levels. Most of the events that took place between the beginning and end of the movie had absolutely no bearing on the outcome. Especially that damned dancing sequence. Oh, that dancing sequence. The movie may be 107 minutes long, but that dancing sequence is about … oh … I’d say … 10 milliseconds away from eternity. If this is what the Greeks were like, it’s no wonder Christians overtook their asses. It all came down to a choice of either slitting my wrists, or sitting through the movie and trying to live. Well, I did it. That’s right. I slit my wrists. The doctor says I’ll be fine. Apparently he doesn’t know I’ll be doing “Titanic” soon…