Hercules

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Directed by Luigi Cozzi
1983

Who’s in this? Lou Ferrigno took off green and added a beard to star in this one, Sybil Danning playing a half-dressed evil temptress which is pretty much how she spent most of the 1980′s only her character here Adriane, former Hercules Brad Harris plays Cassiopea;s dad Augias (small boring roll but he’s getting mentioned because he’s a former Hercules), Ingrid Anderson plays Cassiopea who bats here eyelashes and walks around as if in a daze for much of the movie, William Berger is King Minos (“for the sake of science” or some rot like that is his big quote here), Mirelle D’Angelo is Circe the young sorceress turned old hag turned young sorceress again

*Note this was an award winning movie for Ferrgino (worst new star) and Danning (worst supporting actress), but unfortunately those awards were 1984 Razzies. The film was also nominated for Razzies for worst picture, worst screenplay and worst actor (Ferrigno)

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What’s this thing about? The Gods must be on a budget because this movie starts with a cheap light show and some dry hooey and blah, blah, blah. There is a mention of Pandora's jar busting and causing the planets to form although Pandor's jar here looks like a vase from the Dollar Tree. Next we see Zeus, Hera and Athena as we learn that these Gods and Goddesses have a fondness for cheap wigs and beards. Oh, maybe only Zeus had a beard. To get a plot going in this film the Gods decide to give power to a baby so whoosh a ball light goes down to earth and gives a baby boy some power although at the time he just says googoo gaga. A phony bearded eyebrow acting baddie wants to rule the city so he wins via stock footage battle sequences. Wait, the old ruler had an infant son (who has been given power from the Gods and will one day be Hercules) so eyebrow acting baddie tries to kill the baby. Yet behold a servant has carried the baby off and put him in a raft thingie and sent him a float down the river as so many babies get away using that method. The baddie lets the baby go thinking the water will claim him. Hey, this is baby Hercules we know he'll make it. Even when two foam puppet looking sea snakes go after him he pops their heads off. Soon eventually he comes ashore is taken in by a couple who inform us they could not have children so now they get a super powered soon to giganto son. Flash forward and baby Herc is now great big Lou Ferrigno only with no green skin and he has a beard and a mustache. However things quickly go bad as dad is mauled by a bear which Herc defeats in a slap fight and tosses the grumpy bear into space where he becomes Ursa Major. Wow that was some throw to turn a bear into stars. Menos (you'll see more of him soon) sends a metal wasp sort of creation after Herc's adopted mom. The mom is killed by said gigantic metal wasp beastie which looks like a modified 1950's flashlight with a shiny paint job. Our hero defeats it with a telephone pole, wait there's no telephones back then so I guess it was just a boring old pole. Then Herc leaves the area because he has no home and lucky for him a king is having some games to find some great warrior or something. So we marvel as the lead in this film beats some guys with swords and these weapons make extra loud clangs and have flares go off when they touch. Then Herc astounds us as he pushes some chariots around and beats a bunch of wrestlers with another big pole. Boy this guy sure is the master of fighting with a giant pole. Hercules becomes infatuated with the king's red wigged wearing and veil wearing daughter Cassiopea who is promised to another, but while Herc and Cassiopea are making googly eyes at each other our hero is knocked out by the Gods because he shouldn't be going after someone who is promised to another. The evil half dressed temptress Adriane and her funny eyed helper chain and toss Herc into the water. He escapes and swims seven days and seven nights before washing ashore like a big old piece of driftwood. He meets a shriveled witch named Cerce who quickly turns young and is now wearing some early 80's shiny showgirl looking outfit. They are soon off to fight a mechanical hydra which shoots lasers, Hercules defeats it in a rather unmemorable battle. Minos and his helper were obviously big on mechanical monsters for some reason, perhaps they there was a sale going on metal monstrosities and the local Monstermart. Hercules is on to tests of fire and ice which sounds kind of cool but it's really just tested on his right forearm. That's some lameass tests for sure. He survives the sub-par special effects and his prize is a gaudy talisman which he lets Cerce have. They are off to an island near their destination. They need travel to the next place they are going and decide they need a magic chariot. To obtain the chariot they agree with the local King who just happens to be coming down the beach that they will open a channel for him. Cerce makes Hercules big like Godzilla but only not so scaly then he trots over and craaaaack he just breaks the rocks aside with his gigantic size and strength. Then we are told this is how Africa and Europe were divided, oh man they are just cramming so much important historical knowledge into this film. Now they have the chariot which a looks bit fragile to me, but no horses so they tie a rock to it and we get a big long sequence of Cerce’s magic tying the rope to the rock and the chariot because I guess a half god and a sorceress are to guide to tie stuff with their hands. Then Herc launches the rock into space to get this chariot rolling and the two hop on for the ride. The rock pulls them to their destination as they blaze past Christmas tree light types stars and paper mache asteroids on the way their next stop which is the green city of. Here's a quick plot twist Cerce has fallen in love with Herc and this makes her mortal which sets her up to get shot (yes shot) by a metal centaur so that's the end of that plot twist. Herc knocks the Centaur's block off and I am finding it odd that these metal creatures get weaker as the movie rolls along as would have assumed the tougher enemies would have been towards the end of the movie. Maybe they were in a hurry because now Herc goes to save Cassiopeia but falls into the dungeon like a big oaf. Minos rants about science as he done a few times in this film and he plans to dip Cassiopeia who in now wears a shredded gown into the bubbling volcano below which looks like a pit of tomato soup. Herc busts out because no dungeon can hold him and throws some guards around and even manages to catch a spear in his bare freaking hand, what a dude. He confronts Minos who now has a flaming pastel sword, but of course Herc wins this battle although he does get extra crispy slashes across his chest. Then Herc stops Adriane and she turns to dust as we are forced to watch a rather average not real special effects display of her falling apart. Stock footage of volcanoes come on and kapow the green miniature city falls. Herc gets Cassiopeia as his girl, their images become stars, the credits roll and the creators are off to prepare the sequel.

Statistics-
-Number of metal monstrosities that definitely were not created by Ray Harryhausen-3
-Number of bouncy rubber swords-I noticed at least 2
-Number of times Minos talks about science-I lost interest after the first two times, but I’ll guess 5.
-Number of times Ferrigno stands still with his mouth like he’s trying to catch a fly- Probably around 35 at least.

Negatives? If you thought Hammer films and the original Star Trek had the market cornered on bad wigs and false facial hair then you have yet to see this film. I think the makers of this film missed an opportunity by not having Ferrigno involved in more action or least they could have gotten a reasonable stunt double in there. The movie suffered some from the only action being cartoon type dance around foolishness. Let someone really smack somebody. The acting varies from well, let's just admit it pretty much everyone was awful even for a B movie. The special effects were not so special with swirly lights all around in space and the monsters look thrown together or like rejects from metal shop in high school.

Positives? As a fan of the Incredible Hulk TV I was glad to see Ferrigno land in this role right after playing the Hulk. Even though he's dubbed big Lou certainly looks the part of Hercules. Some of the locations are very fitting for this type of film.

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Who should see this? Sword and sandal films were saw a popular phase in the late 50′s and early 60′s. Some of the most known films were Italian made Hercules films. Twenty some years later when Clash of the titans, Dragonslayer and Conan the barbarian all has some success they inspired a new wave of sword and sandal films plus a number of sword and sorcery films as well. This fad went from the early 1980′s through to almost the later part of the decade. It’s no surprise that during this time that Italian filmmakers decided to resurect the Hercules franchise. Lou Ferrigno was pulled into this project not long after the cancellation of the Incredible Hulk TV show. Obviously the makers of this movie were very much influenced by the Clash of the titans. You could probably watch maybe half of this as a fun to laugh at film, but eventually it’s badness will likely bog down even the strongest of awful film fans. Fans of Ferrigno may want to see it once just to say they saw it.

There you go. Maybe some day I’ll tackle the sequel which I remember as being cheaper but funnier.