You gotta hand it to The Asylum, when they see a blockbuster film, they quickly go into production and make a cheap knock off film! Screw production values and quality! They make films and they make good money doing them! The latest film to come out of their movie factory is Hercules Reborn, conveniently released to coincide with the release of the big budget (and mainstream) Hercules film, starring former WWE Superstar, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Oh, but The Asylum got their own former WWE wrestler, John Morrison! So, how does he, and the film actually fare?
I haven’t seen the The Rock’s Hercules film so I can’t compare this film with it so I’ll be reviewing the film “as is” and just be discussing the quality and my impressions of the film… which aren’t that good, to tell you frankly. But… it’s actually pretty good in a B-movie sort of way.
There will be some SPOILERS for the film. So you’ve been warned.
Let’s tackle the casting of Hercules first, John Hennigan. When he was a major heel in the WWE, I really liked the John Morrison character. He was an arrogant, athletic high-flyer, proclaiming himself to be the “Shaman of Sexy” or “The Guru of Greatness.” He was a blast to see. I wasn’t a big fan of his more generic “tough guy” makeover during the latter part of his career. I would say he does a passable job at playing the demigod. I mean he does have the physique for it! His acting is also functional. So, good job, John Morrison/Hennigan.
However, the rest of the actors… Hoo boy! The acting is pretty terrible! They all act like they’re in a low budget movie… Okay, yes they are in a low budget movie (it’s The Asylum, after all), but they shouldn’t act like they are! It’s almost like they were told to intentionally act terribly! They either underact (like when the right hand man acts “conflicted” when ordered to kill a woman and child and when the main character’s cousin gives a “uplifting” speech) or overact (when the main lead’s best friend “angrily” complains about Hecules’ drinking problem).
But I can’t place all the blame on them. The script is horrendous! The main players are all cookie cutter characters and definitely act that way. There’s an extreme amount of filler and scenes don’t really make sense. There’s this side story where the princess is captured, raped by the bad guy, escapes from the bad guy, gets recaptured by the bad guys and is forced to marry the villain. So, that entire storyline doesn’t lead anywhere and could easily be cut out. Not only that, Hercules isn’t even the main lead! It’s the… other guy. Can’t remember his name because, well, I didn’t even care to know what it is! I just called him “main guy” in my head.
I guess the best thing about the movie are actually the action scenes… they’re bloody, stupid and, honestly, fun to watch. Although they never sever any limbs or anything like that, every person sliced by a blade will spurt out copious amounts of blood! It’s B-movie violence at its best! The fight choreography is actually pretty decent and it has Hercules doing a lot of insane spins and pirouettes in the air that shouldn’t help him in a battle except to stun his opponent into confusion as to why he’s doing all those counterproductive moves.
The highlight of Hercules Reborn would be the “climatic” third act, where all they do is fight! Sometimes, it’s pretty hilarious to watch the guard just look on helpless at the rabble of rebels heading towards them! I mean, shouldn’t they be trained for that kind of thing? And since it’s just all yelling and shouting, acting gets thrown out the window and the film fully embraces if low-budget roots. I love it!
I hate to say it but I kind of enjoyed Hercules Reborn just because of its B-movie campiness! Unlike Atlantic Rim, another Asylum film I reviewed before, this one has some charm and personality. It knows it’s a low budget movie and yet it still has some heart in it. This is one of those “it’s so bad that it’s good” movies so, if you enjoy that kind of thing, you’ll love Hercules Reborn.
In fact, here’s the entire film. It’ll probably be taken off YouTube in a couple of days but, hey, watch it while you can!
Have you watched Hercules Reborn? How about the one starring The Rock? How do the two films compare? Leave your thoughts on the films in the comments section below!