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by Tony Lee editor of
Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
173 minutes Universal Playback
review by Donald Morefield
Reportedly, this popular fantasy adventure TV show starring Kevin Sorbo began as a
series of made-for-TV movies with titles like Hercules And The Amazon Women, and
Hercules In The Maze Of The Minotaur (both 1994), before it was developed into
a full scale series, with five seasons produced so far. (It was also the source of an
even more popular spin-off series, Xena: Warrior Princess.) The episodes here
are from series two.
In The Enforcer, Hercules is reunited with his first love,
the death-bringer, Nemesis, who's just been made mortal by the Hera (cue big green
eyes in the sky) for defying the will of "petty and cruel" gods. Hera has
also created a replacement assassin (in the form of underused martial artist Karen
Sheperd) to slay Hercules. Spot the borrowings from Terminator 2: Judgment Day!
Once A Hero features Jason and the Argonauts on a mission to recapture the
stolen Golden Fleece and, predictably, replays the famous battling skeletons sequence
from the classic Ray Harryhausen movie. Heedless Hearts is from a more character-based
script. It sees Hercules falls for a pretty widow in a besieged village and, though he
joins the locals' fight against a warlord's soldiers, the MIA husband turns up alive.
Let The Games Begin is a timely tale of how a long running conflict is settled
when Hercules organises a contest. Yes, of course, it's the Olympics (but with only
five events). The games are rudely interrupted by hideous mutants ('Mesomorphs'),
which trouble our hero no end, until he wrecks their nuclear bomb!
New Zealand locations provide an unfamiliar backdrop to these
shambling, lightweight rewrites of ancient mythology. The accent is firmly on bland
comedy adventure with a muscular but un-charismatic star, appealing barbarian babes,
distinctly overacting villains, fantasy genre in-jokes, cheery platitudes and loads of
harmless, cartoon style action.
originally published online in VideoVista #19, October 2000
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