Cleaned it up. Now for the Coloring and lettering. Still got a ways to go
It’s been a while, but absence only makes the heart grow fonder right?
Hercules (2014) directed by Brett Ratner and starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as HERCULES!!!
This is it. All roads end. Just try to remember, through it all, we did this together…
I’ve gone through over half a century of Hercules movies, moving towards the inevitable conclusion. This film was it. The last step. The wall to crash into. As Heracles himself must wrestle the three headed dog of hell to complete his labor, so too would I come to this final task. Would it be the sweet taste of release I would sup upon? Or would my trial be akin to grueling under the weight of the world as the lion of Thebes performed when he took the burden of Atlas? Tectonic plates shifting over shoulder blades, muscles ripping as I hold on to the last vestiges of strength…
…There’s no way to finish this thing properly. I’ve written over ten thousand words on this crap already and I don’t have the verbiage to give proper denouement to this examination. I hit some high marks when I found out about the backstage succession between leads which followed from the 50s to the 80s unchecked. Then looking at the pepla film’s effects on Arnold and how the movies moved him to create worldwide cultural change also really surprised me. But witnessing the great Nigel Green give the seminal performance of the character was definitely the apex. I had to come down from that high with a mile long walk through the mud of the 80s into 00s interpretations of the Greek though. So getting here is assuredly a release.
Ratner hasn’t been someone I’ve gone to see since the first Rush Hour, so I wasn’t coming to the party for a quality film. I came for the big guy. I came for this. The moment I saw Johnson in lion skin clothed glory, I knew I had to see this picture. The visual of him, club in hand walking across screen, bearded face shadowed by the torn jaw of the Nemean Lion’s atop his head would pull me to the theater with the force of a hurricane. I had to go see this film from the moment the trailer’s title seared across the screen in neon 80s inflected font, stamping itself permanently into my brain. That was all I needed.
The fact that The Rock is also heir apparent to the legacy of Schwarzenegger, that he comes from body building and represents a return to the pattern started from the moment Steve Reeves first strapped sandal to foot and walked the sands of Italy to perform as the scion of Zeus is just icing. The fact the Ratner purposefully set out to make a peplum picture, to use practical effects and real sets, and honest to god hand crafted production pieces is the cherry. I didn’t follow Dwayne’s insane workout that millions jumped on board for, breaking twitter in half like a pillar between the demigods might mits. I just wanted to see Rock in that outfit, and watch him beat the living shit out of things with the club of Hercules.
Film Review: I remember when Radical Comics debuted the comic which originated this movie. I bought two copies of the first issue (it had a Steranko cover, a rarity and prize at any time, and the first one I received was torn in the front from shipping) I remember reading through and not receiving too much from the story, it was a practical interpretation, one that did the conventional twist of trying to over humanize the character by stripping the mythic and fantastical from the story and replacing it with “what if he was JUST a man”. It’s the trite type of thought pattern that always spins out into a ditch by the end of its experiment. What did influence me were the visuals. From the Steranko painting on the front, to the intense and dark mood of the book’s lead, with its somewhat adolescent visceral style, Hercules struts about inside its pages, indomitable and moody. I was really taken in by the look. I never bought another issue, and eventually my ideal of the legend became the work of Sfar and Blain’s interpretation, but I remember really liking the pompous 90s Image Comics bearing that he carried.
This movie keeps all that intact. Hercules, as played by Johnson is a big action figure, strutting about in scenes and chewing up his screen time. He looks just as great as I hoped he would. The production throughout the film shows how Ratner put all 100 million into making sure the movie has a hand crafted design. It’s sad to say real sets and good costuming is a break in trend, but that’s the game nowadays, so I’m really glad it’s all here. The movie gave me the visual form I was hoping for.
Beyond that, there really isn’t too much to get excited about. A ton of great character actors in here doing what they can. The inclusion of Ingrid Bolso Berdal as the amazon warrior Atalanta is an appreciated move, but some regrettable dialogue in parts really undercut this try at hackneyed progression (I was still rooting for her). Johnson is really going for it. He’s giving the role everything he can acting wise, and he put a much heralded eight months of work into his body to give us a dynamic form and physique (one that is still more human than the marble sculpted bodies of past). But there’s only so much water in the pale. There’s just nothing really there in the script. It’s a house of sticks that once you get close enough to touch, falls apart. It has a lot of modern action problems, not least of all trying to deliver a 1980s John Milius movie with a PG-13 restriction, but instead just ending up being a lot of what Fuqua’s King Arthur was in 2004. There’s meat on the bone, but it doesn’t satisfy.   
Depiction of Hercules: This made it all worth it. The Rock was his namesake in this, holding it together through raw visual power. It was magical watching him enter scenes and jump around battlefields club in hand pounding man and beast into the ground. Even with the revisionist editing out of the labors and the twists to his own tragic past, we still got a lot out of this Hercules. They even threw me a few biscuits with the opening depictions of the Nemean Lion, the Hydra battle, and the Erymanthean Boar labors. Johnson pushed for giving depth to his Hercules, and even though it couldn’t always hit, the sincerity of his method and the effort given always made me appreciative.
One of the best moments in all these films (13 in total) came from the scene when Johnson and team Hercules enter into Lord Cotys’ (John Hurt) throne room for the first time. There’s a slight pause of breath before dialogue invades, Hercules is standing half lit from the court’s high tiered windows. He’s in a stance of relaxed attention, he’s being talked down to, but he’s in control of the room through sheer force of intimidation. It’s not a conscious effort, it’s who he is.  He exudes power. His gut leans out a bit, his hands at hips, his face rough and cloaked in his impenetrable beast hide. The profile is everything I tried to put into my drawings while in school. I couldn’t believe I was seeing my youthful dream of Hercules so fully realized in front of me in film. It was perfect.
It was twelve crazy days, and not everything got colored or written on schedule, but I always got the art up, and I lived and breathed Hercules cinema mythology for almost two weeks. At the end of the road Johnson and company managed to give me some special moments with my favorite Greek legend, even if the home run was the succinct but impeccable Nigel Green role. If you read all, or even one of these things, then thanks for being here. It wasn’t always fun, but I still loved every minute of it.   
Hercules: Hylas!
Argus: Well?
Jason: We searched, Argus
Hercules: And I will search again.
Crew: Hylas was with us. He was running. Then he disappeared.
Argus: He could have been hurt. Not able to get back to the ship.
Like Palinuros.
We had to carry him aboard.
Jason: Hercules, Hylas is dead.
(Hercules pauses)
-The gods decided it.
Hercules: Why kill a boy for my grave fault?
I should have stayed with him.
Jason: Search until nightfall.
We won’t sail till then.
(Hercules reaches forecastle and stops)
Hercules: Sail when you please. I can’t leave this island until I find Hylas.
(Exit Hercules)

The Legend of Hercules (2014) directed by Renny Harlin and starring Kellan Lutz as HERCULES!!!
Man. Renny Harlin. What happened? Where’d you go? When I first started looking up this movie, I distinctly remember giving out a spontaneous “aw. No!” cry of disappointment to see his name pop un in the director slot on imdb. That sucks. Harlin was one of my guys as a kid. Staying up late watching Cliffhanger and Die Hard(s) was a great time. Long Kiss Goodnight would be my go to in the Harlin-ography. It’s still in the collection and gets used on rainy days (90s Shane Black and Renny are dynamite!) but what is this?! This movie?! I wish I could give you a hug, because you must have seen some dark days brother.
If you were judging this on the peplum formula, this movie fits with our previous line up like a glove in a lot of ways. Filmed in Bulgaria, the place where B movies are now born (taking the spot from Italy) the cast and crew march right in step with the sword and sandal tactics of mid 60s pepla; Awkward acting, campy writing and production, blatant theft of more successful conventions and themes used in more popular films (which assured the possibility of these films). This movie is pretty much the 1965 peplum experience presumably to the Rock’s late 50s peplum knock off (hopefully that’s complimentary).
After watching this movie a notion started to turn around in my head. I don’t think this movie is for the people one would typically assume. You know, the 20 something guys in Tap Out shirts who hang around gyms too long and talk about deals in AutoTrader like it’s not the most boring fucking way to live your life. This isn’t that movie. Kellan Lutz isn’t the guy you cast if you’re making that film. His poor man’s Chris Hemsworth has an appeal for sure, check out the millions of twilight fan pages and you’ll see for yourself. Movies with everyone hairless, unclothed, and facially groomed to a fine point attracts an audience group, despite the script and production, These films are for the gals and guys holding the hands of the gym rats with no fear back tattoos (who probably thought they were watching that new 300 movie).
After noticing movies like Pompei, all the shirtless scenes in those Thors, and the new Snow White and The Huntsman roll by, I think there’s a cultural shift which is allowing a heterosexual woman and gay male audience a chance at the b action film block that the white guy demographic have been enjoying for decades.
The overlong waterfall shots, lack of enthusiasm or attention to action, and general direction toward “emotions” and romance in the movie gives me a sense of this (possible) clandestine purpose. The most believable (and hottest) relationship in the film is the somewhat overt possibility of Lutz and Liam McIntyre’s Sotiris straight hooking up between adventures (with male bondage thrown right in there for spice).
If we are getting a new breed of b movie that wants to give this too long ignored audience the same fun that I’ve enjoyed from goofball shit like this since time began, that’s great! I kind of doubt it (almost completely) BUT how great would it be if the studios are disguising bad Rom/Action flicks enough to fool the core male audience so their significant others can get them to the movies that they’ve been waiting to see?      
Film Review: Yeah, this movie is terrible. Harlin steals everything he possibly can from shit common in the last five years, but mainly from Snyder’s playbook. I mean EVERYTHING. The theft is so blatant and bold, it doesn’t even feel embarrassing after a while, just natural. Harlin used to be the guy who made the Hollywood standard for action. It really depresses me. I think the high mark was when I noticed halfway through that they had even taken the Frank Miller arrow tip designs from 300. Even the arrowheads? You couldn’t pull anything else out of your closet? Wow.
Another strange thing: This isn’t a Hercules movie. Nah. This is a standard action film with the title slapped on. I’m not bothered by it (besides the time lost which could have gone to more Reg Park) but this doesn’t really have anything to do with Hercules mythology at all. He even has a different name for three quarters of the film: Alcides. I remember it because the script demands people say full names at the end of every sentence when addressing anyone. Ever. Besides pasting in a lion fight in the beginning, this is just some sword and sandal flick where it rains too much. That’s it. I don’t know where this movie came from.
Scott Adkins is in this. I like Scott Adkins. That beard is great; I hope he really grew it.
Depiction of Hercules: yeah, this isn’t Hercules. He’s Alcides. It’s an Alcides film. He’s also just as clean shaven as a Gillete razor model (with about as much charisma as a pile of shaving cream).
Up next: It’s the final showdown. It all comes down to this….

Hercules (2014) directed by Brett Ratner and starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as HERCULES!!!
Hercules (1997) directed by Ron Clements and John Musker and starring (the voice of) Tate Donovan as HERCULES!!!
"This might be a different Hercules"
—“Yeah. I mean, Hercules is a VERY popular name nowadays”
"Remember, like, a few years ago, every other boy was named Jason, and the girls were all named Britney?"
Like yesterday’s review before it, this was also a 90s contribution I considered cutting from the list. Not because of any distaste for the film. I’m a nineties kid, Disney pumps in my blood, the musical genre especially is in my wiring. I just didn’t feel it fit in with the rest of the assembled material. Not for the distinction of animation to live action performance, but because it’s really it’s own beast from the others. Disney operates in it’s own space and those films seem to belong to a body of critique among themselves. I mean that both positively and negatively, as just mentioning those films to people past a certain age either comes with socially embarrassing amounts of over-excitement OR the sudden second assessment and “oh. Jesus, how’d I get stuck talking to this guy at the party?” look. But if you were to put Hercules into Google and let her rip, previous to the announce of Ratner and Rock’s newest outing, you would probably be staring at about 90% image material involved with this film.
Even more so than the previous Sorbo TV series, this film defined the identity of Hercules into the public’s mind for the next decade. This was the new standard, and it almost never happened. After two successful block busters for the mouse (Little Mermaid, Aladdin) Clements and Musker were gearing themselves up for their dream project, a sci-fi retelling of treasure island. They had the track record, and figured a pitch would sell but didn’t count on then studio head Jeffrey Katzenberg vetoing the project from the outset. Current thought at the time (mainly Katzenberg’s) was that a space faring pirate adventure would only appeal to a comic book reading male audience minority (yeah. I know right? who cares about that demographic?) Musker and Clements were pretty sore, but Katz assured them they would never have the green light for their baby unless they turned in another money maker that would return at the box office and the merchandise market. The directors hit the concepts vault and flipped through ideas until animator Joe Haidar hit them with doing a satirical take on the original Greek superhero. Clements and Musker could still be doing a geek comic book film, but the part that really got them was the way that Hercules could be used to lampoon commercialization of popular fiction for profit. They fell in love.
An aspect of Hercules history that isn’t covered by previous cinematic outings is that Hercules is one of the first fictional characters to be merchandised and commodified for product placement. Guy helped sell a lot of vases. This put into the sports story formula (one could argue the modern american mythology) and you have an under current theme within this heavily commercial product that gives a fresh take that no other Hercules outing had tried to date. The animators even found a way to lampoon Katz, who had bullied them into the picture, by basing the Hades design and James Woods' performance on the studio producer (as rumor goes).
With this in mind, I really began to appreciate what these film makers were going for, having just gone through decades of films that had built the Greek demigod into a pretty rundown commercial product, with a previously established comic book exploitation take. My body was ready.
Film review: One of my earliest memories with discovering the story of Hercules is in my elementary school library, when finding a book on the twelve labors, it utterly captivated me, and sparked a lifelong obsession with the character and Greek mythology entire. It was probably on the third or fourth trip home with the book that I remember saying to myself “what if Disney did a Hercules film?” The idea was so radical to me that I never thought it could be a possibility, other kids were’nt interested in this material (that I knew of) so when I heard later that summer that a new Hercules film was coming out I kind of freaked the fuck out to say the least. I literally felt like a movie had been made JUST for me. Who else cared about this stuff? I had four sisters and a brother that liked these movies like I did, and they didn’t think it was cool. What other evidence was needed? Disney was obviously reading my dreams.
All this nostalgic insight into a twelve year old version of me is to establish how much I went ape shit for this picture. I’ve seen it A LOT. So there probably isn’t any way to divorce myself properly from feelings I have about the movie. The commercialization elements and sports fetish were a theme I had already picked up on as well from watching this thing so many times, the back stage politics did give it a little extra edge, but it was still pretty much business as usual here.
This is a pretty wonky film that I love to fucking death. From the bizarre and unneeded Charlton Heston narration, to straight into a southern gospel version of the Greek muses, you see a lot of liberty being taken with the portrayal of the myths in this film and generally weird elements throughout. This is the Saturday morning Rocky of Hercules movies. I have the feeling this has probably been shouted into the internet void many times before though, so I’m going to save the obvious synopsis and observations. I liked watching this movie again, I always do, and I didn’t have any real new insights worth noting even after watching ten Hercules films previous to this one. Woods kills it, the art direction is great, and the pacing of these films is so fucking strong and fined tuned there’s not a ounce of fat on it. There’s a reason people can keep recycling these things for years and years and never get tired of them. They’re classics, they don’t make ‘em like this anymore. Disney can’t do this anymore, hell, Musker and Clements couldn’t even do it again. When Treasure Planet was finally made, besides being their poorest box office return, it’s also Musker/Clements’ weakest film (that thing has problems, and it’s not just the Martin Short robot) To summarize, this movie is a lot of fun. Nuff said.
Depiction of Hercules: This is kind of strange for me. After all my fawning, it may sound weird to say this has always been one of my least favorite versions of Herc. Even as a kid, at the height of my enthusiasm and awe of the film, I always came away dissapointed with the portrayal. It just doesn’t hit it off with me, the overall movie always makes up for it, even gets me on board with him in a lot of different ways, but I’m never really satisfied with the red haired Superboy/Sports star version. I don’t like the myth changes, and I want more depth from him. The movie does include a personally iconic Hercules moment for me though…
During the build to the film’s climax, Megara (Susan Egan) is struck by a pillar saving the hero. Hercules turns and screams. He races over to help the woman he loves and pulls against the rock to lift it off her crushed body. It’s not the trite exchange afterwards that gets me. It’s the tragic heroics of the action. The pointlessness of the victory through strength. The audience knows it’s over, and so does Hercules, but there’s still a sense of marvel at the act, even though the taste of its futility sours everything about its courageousness. That to me is an underlying trait of Greek mythology. A continuously heroic narrative that excites and thrills you to hear, but in the back of your mind is the sadness that it will fail, that tragedy is lurking just around the corner to spoil any momentary reward, or the fact that no matter how hard one fights, how noble, it will be for nothing. It just gets to me.
So there’s that, and he doesn’t have a beard, and that Hydra fight is kinda ugly in parts (CG cop out horse shit. Draw those heads!).
Up next, we skip a decade and enter into the present. It’s 2014 and we have our final two films. First is….
The Legend of Hercules (2014) directed by Renny Harlin and staring Kellan Lutz as HERCULES!!!

Line work for Disney Hercules. Just do it
Hercules and the Amazon Women (1993) directed by Bill L. Norton starring Kevin Sorbo as hercules… 
Jason and the Argonauts (1963) directed by Don Chaffey and staring NEGIL GREEN as HERCULES!!!!!
Following the last two cinematic outings of Hercules, I would love to think that the worst is behind me and the golden fields of Elysium await in the coming decade. The complex study of turn over between lead actors which continued from the 40s through the 80s and was responsible for building the peplum genre, delivering millions in box office revenue, and creating worldwide cultural effects has slowly died away. The Hercules franchise vehicle was an empty house, vacant for any wandering vagrant to enter and claim ownership by squatting in. One free to sit in front of daily, breath rank with HRD, smelling of urine and continually exposing himself to unlucky passerby as he screamed incoherent obscenities to the sky. This was his kingdom. He is the lord of worms. His name is Sorbo.  
I’ve let it slip a bit already, but I’ll just come clean in full now: Kevin Sorbo doesn’t do it for me. Everyone has their own speed, and mine doesn’t go crazy, homophobic and racist. That said; MAYBE the factor of disliking everything about the lead actor playing the eponymous role of a under budgeted TV movie shouldn’t discredit the contributions of the rest of the film’s cast and crew.
I thought about skipping this period, but if you’re going to try and take in the many facets of how popular culture and this mythology interact and influence each other, you have to come to this road eventually. After a decade of sleeping on it, no body was touching the Hercules model. It was pretty sunk. So leave it to the contributions of that Evil Dead guy, and some dude whose major contribution to this world was helping make Time Cop (I love JCVD) to bumble along and bring the demigod back to life in weekly television form. Surprisingly, this show kind of became a big deal.
As far as the influence of bad television upon the hearts and minds of the American people, I’m not informed enough to get into a proper discourse on the subject. A lot of strange stuff was being given attention. The series had its day in the hot sun though, and even became the highest rated syndicated show on television for a while. Toylines, multiple movies, merchandise. A whole circus. The fact that this is probably the first major media involvement I had with Greek mythology is a shame I’ll take to my grave. I bought some of the toys. I remember they were boring and that Kevin couldn’t pull off yellow (which tbh can be hard for some guys). Basically the show made an impact. It created a lot of waves and still has fans, so it kind of makes since that there must be something here.
(watches film)
Alright. Jesus, let’s wrap this up.
Film review: I don’t know what people were thinking back then. There’s nothing here. I’d like to say Lucy Lawless was fun, because her and the spin-off show helped create one of the most popular feminist icons of the decade since Lynda Carter in the 70s, but there’s nothing here.
Depiction of Hercules: I just…(grasps head) You hire a guy who has flat greasy hair, no beard, and looks like he belongs on the cover of a romance novel sold in k-mart. He wears purple leather pants, and has the charm of a weird uncle who wants to tell you about his beliefs on scientology and why it’s not a cult, because that’s just liberal propaganda. I can’t do it.
So this series was a thing, then Buffy the Vampire Slayer came out and all the people without lives on Saturday afternoons watched that instead.



The Adventures of Hercules  (1985) directed by Luigi Cozzi and starring Lou Ferrigno as HERCULES!!!
"Never? Never is only a question of time." 
WOW!!! This was terrible. That’s really all there is to say here. I’ve been pretty long winded on everything else I’ve posted review wise, but any effort that this movie deserves just got put into making the art piece. I don’t have a joke coming.This was just bad. Whatever affinity I harbored for the confused, but like-able, blank stare that Ferrigno charmed me with in the first film is gone. This was a trash can. Not like a fun one you play with by rolling it down a hill on a cool summer day (for reasons), but one you see down a dark alley after the bar is closed and you notice there’s a dead animal thrown on top and the smell is permeating the surrounding area in a sickly sweet stench of decay. This movie was garbage. At one point it started to rain outside, and I decided to simply get up and go meander around outdoors for a second because that might give me more life satisfaction than continuing to plod through this movie. I couldn’t find any logic to why it was made, you would assume a cash grab, but I don’t see how belief was secured to that with the first film’s dismal box office. There’s just nothing here. 
The movie goes through some kind of motions in resuming the first film’s plot I guess, everyone that was principal cast from the first comes back and embarrasses themselves, making their mothers rethink that abortion they could have a had in their twenties. It has two principal sins with me. One, it makes me loathe the wonderful dynamic of Evan Robins Dedalos from the last film. Two, it finally hits a high mark with the galactic space battle at the climax, with Hercules fighting King Minos in space as a cosmic light force that then turns into a dinosaur, followed by Hercules turning into space King Kong, followed by the dinosaur becoming a snake, and then being thrown into a nebula and exploding. This movie ruins THAT. By the point you’re even there, you can’t possibly give a fuck what tricks it pulls out, nothing is going to save it. If I could have seen that scene divorced from the experienced of watching the movie as possibly, a gif on tumblr, it probably would have made me weep from happiness. But the weight of having committed the rest of this to memory crushed that. 
Depiction of Hercules?  There’s nothing here. I don’t care if he has a beard. It’s nothing, game over. 
I don’t know what fresh hell I’m putting myself through next, but if I’m committed to following this mythos through the eras, then there’s two in the nineties I have to go through next and one of them is starring Kevin Sorbo.
Up next (if my soul is strong enough)…..
Hercules and the Amazon Women (1994) directed by Bill L. Norton and starring (sigh) Kevin Sorbo as HERCULES
Hercules (1983) directed by Luigi Cozzi and starring Lou Ferrigno as HERCULES!!!
After over a decade of sleeping, it’s up to the Italians to resurrect the Hercules property once again (I’m going to say at this point Hercules has moved to a marketable icon level). The scion of Jupiter has risen again, but this isn’t the 60s, or even the 70s anymore, this is the 80s. Peplum can’t rely on its old tricks because the audience doesn’t want that speed anymore, they’re on to the next thing: Science Fiction. After the success of Star Wars (1977, 80), Battlestar Galatica (78-79), and probably most importantly Donner’s Superman (78) the public has a whole new appetite which necessitates a different direction for the lion of Thebes. More in line with Flash Gordon than Spartacus, this era’s Hercules is a lot more robots and ambient space shots than have been in the series before, but it’s still the formula we love. Nothing affects the most important aspect of the films (at least to me) as two time Mr. Universe winner Ferrigno is in the saddle as the Greek god. Louie himself has a hand in the modern advent of popular science fiction with his hit role as the Incredible Hulk through the seventies and into the 80s (he just wrapped up the show).
The part I feel that is interesting to note during this period’s incarnation is the move towards recognizing Hercules as the proto-superhero character he has always been, even the casting of recent Marvel Comics icon Louie reflects this; Hercules is the stuff of comics now. Coming from a distant land, his parents killed at a young age and left to be cared for by good, honest, salt of the earth folks. Herc must one day rise up as the noble champion of mankind with powers far beyond those of mortal man. This is pretty standard to what I feel as always been inherent in this fiction; Hercules has always been an original architect for superhero fantasy (watch any History channel special and they’ll say the same thing five times). So I could keep listing off ways this movie reflects the formula, but we’ll be hitting that with Disney in ‘92 anyway, so let’s move on.
More important than its newest flavor is the fact that the recursion formula of culture within Hercules cinema is still intact, as the legacy of nepotism STILL holds up in this era. Louie is a personal friend and fan of the previous Hercules star (check one!) he’s a Universe title holder who was influenced by the films and specifically Arnold himself to pursue competitive bodybuilding (check two!!) and the movie reflects an intentional goal to emulate the previous star’s success and life (check three!!!). It’s all here.
The film bears more than a passing resemblance to the recent Conan the Barbarian (1982) by John Milius and Schwarzenegger, and if Conan is not Arnold’s true Hercules movie, then we’ll never see it. Milius is pulling from the B movie peplum as much as he is anything else so the incestuous relationship between all these films is a strong as ever. But the final piece is the body of Hercules himself; Louie has once again completed the standard of the next star pushing the limits of what the title character’s physicality can achieve. Looking at Ferrigno’s body in this film makes my eyes hurt, it’s psychotic. With the changes mentioned from the last review, we now live in a world completely altered by this film series’ cultural legacy, it’s the rise of bodybuilding fully achieved.
After the impact of Pumping Iron (1977) ( which also stars our two Hercules: Arnold and Louie) the phenomena of extreme fitness has reached full swing, and with it, the sport’s inherent nature of pushing to the next level at any cost. The culture’s philosophy offers Louie no other choice than to be next level of superhuman in this film. With the the widespread use of performance enhancement supplements already a cultural past time, we not only have science as a theme in the film, it’s running its star’s body (like most in industry now) into horizons never before seen or imagined. You can see it every time Louie runs somewhere in this film, he’s just not natural, he’s acquired so much display flesh it’s hard to even accept him as a human being anymore. We’ve probably never been closer to the demigod ideal realized than in this film. 
What else we got? The depiction of Hercules? Welp, he’s got a beard, so he’s got a seat at my table from the get go.  As stated previously, this is Superman/Conan/Star wars Hercules, so anything that comes close to giving me mythic origin satisfaction has probably been thrown out 3 films ago. That said, I love Louie, his big hairy emotive expressions and child like grin are just adorable to me (have you seen this Pumping Iron? He’s adorable 24/7) He’s a giant bearded muscle bound baby. AND he gets the classic voice dub that every Hercules star has had since day one. Yes, we still have that going uninterrupted, though in this particular case it’s most likely due to Ferrigno’s speech impediment (caused by his 80% hearing loss as a young boy). Not once have we heard the natural voice from our star recorded and used for the audio (the first time out) it’s an incredible recurrence yet to be broken.  
So, onto the actual film review? OK. Christ this thing is crazy. Not too much to say here that couldn’t be said for its previous company. Its got the bad SFX like no body’s business going on. If you love miniatures then this is your bag. The main thing I’m keeping in my heart from this movie is every scene (all two of ‘em) between William Berger’s King Minos and Eva Robins' Dedalos. That stuff is gold. Dedalos is THE star of the show hands down. No connection to any accurate representation of the original, but who gives a shit? She LOVES SCIENCE. She’s the dark god of loving the shit out of science, the Tesla of Greek (geek?) gods AND probably the strongest female character we’ve ever had in these things (though this film doesn’t improve on the depiction of women in any real capacity worth mentioning) OTHER than that? Ummmm…….(looks over entirety of the movie in every aspect) Yeah that’s it.
Up next we have the sequel to this multiple golden raspberry winner (Louie snagged worst new star in ‘83 for this. Who judges those things? Assholes) so come on by tonight, until then I’m going to bed. Up next….
The Adventures of Hercules (1985) directed by Luigi Cozzi and starring Lou Ferrigno as HERCULES!!!