A couple of sword & sandal films to review this week, one on the big screen, one on DVD.
Director: Brett Ratner
Dwayne Johnson plays Hercules, a demigod who, blamed for the death of his family after completing his twelve labours, is now reduced to working as a mercenary with a small band of loyal followers (Ian McShane, Rufus Sewell, Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, Aksel Hennie and Reece Ritchie). He is hired by the King of Thrace (John Hurt) to train up an army to end a civil war but.. well, it's all going to go horribly wrong for the once mighty, muscly man-myth in a loin-cloth.
Based on the comic book 'The Thracian Wars' by Steve Moore, there is a sprinkling of humour, plenty of action and a strong supporting cast but the panacea of a 12A rating means what could have been a riot is more of a romp. A thumping three out of five stars.
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Russell Crowe stars in this apocalyptically long Mad Max-style version of the bible story. Light on doves, heavy on soul-searching and damnation it's a vivid vision of a world pre-flood where angels, men and all manner of creation mingle in the lead up to a massive all-in fight for survival. Russell Crowe and Ray Winstone (Tubal-cain) slug it out as mortal enemies but it is Jennifer Connelly and Emma Watson who steal the scenes as the long-suffering wife (Naameh) and adopted daughter (Ila) dealing with the evangelically driven Noah. A heroically mad three out of five stars.