Freeview film of the day: Hercules

The Rock takes on the mantle of the legendary labouring warrior

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Hercules ★★★ 
Premiere 9.00-10.55pm C5 

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This was the third Hercules movie of 2014, and was by far the most successful, with director Brett Ratner finding the correct balance between self-deprecating humour, heart and epic Cecil B DeMille-style action. Having completed the mythical 12 labours, and struggling to live up to his demigod reputation, Hercules (an imposing Dwayne Johnson) has turned mercenary with a five-man army of loyal followers. Hired to train the Thracian army to fight an evil warlord, the musclebound hero learns too late it’s a double-cross, part of a plan for megalomaniac King Cotys (John Hurt) to rule Greece. Hercules’s companions barely register, apart from seer Ian McShane with his amusing death predictions, and the exposition plods here and there. But Ratner papers over the cracks with incredibly exciting battle scenes, bladed chariot combat and warrior hordes filmed on huge studio and backlot constructs, enhanced by key CGI, that send the adrenaline racing.


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