'Hercules' Debuts to 'Legend'-arily Awful Reviews

Posted 1:08 PM January 10th, 2014 by Jeff Giles
Hercules

Any doubts as to why Lionsgate didn't screen The Legend of Hercules have officially been dashed: As of Friday afternoon, Renny Harlin's swords 'n' sandals epic has gone 0-for-33 with top critics. Even arriving in the cinematic dregs of early January, Hercules looks likely to draw a relatively soft opening, with Lone Survivor and Frozen pretty much certain to out-muscle the Kellan Lutz-led 3D action drama.

It's another rough development for Harlin, who was once one of the most powerful directors in Hollywood but has spent much of the last 15 years slugging it out in the direct-to-video/low-budget action trenches. With an estimated budget of $70 million and a Twilight cast member in the lead, Hercules might have been his bid to rejoin the upper echelon action helmers, but at Rotten Tomatoes, the movie is currently sporting a rather dismal 57 percent rating with audiences, suggesting that the movie's in for some weak word of mouth on both fronts.

Of course, it's relatively unlikely that The Legend of Hercules will stay at 0 percent -- in fact, it's a little difficult to believe it's legitimately the worst film in a career that also includes The Adventures of Ford Fairlane and 2006's The Covenant -- but if nothing else, the wintry critical reception afforded Hercules reaffirms just how little optimism Hollywood has for its releases during the first few weeks of the year. It'll be interesting to see how much more enthusiasm filmgoers and critics have for 2014's other Hercules movie, Brett Ratner's Dwayne Johnson-led Hercules: The Thracian Wars, when it bows on July 25.

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Jeff is an entertainment writer and editor whose work currently appears at a variety of sites, including Rotten Tomatoes, Paste, American Songwriter, Popdose, Dadnabbit, Diffuser, and Ultimate Classic Rock.

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