Dir: Brett Ratner
Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Rufus Sewell, Ian McShane, John Hurt, Rebecca Ferguson, Ingrid Bolso Berdal, Joseph Fiennes
Adapted from the Radical Comics mini-series Hercules: The Thracian Wars written by the late Steve Moore and drawn by Admira Wijaya, featuring a bi-sexual, rageaholic son of Zeus, Hercules proves to be surprisingly watchable late summer entertainment. Of course, Hollywood has sanitised its hero for the big screen, so Hercules (Dwayne Johnson) has his temper firmly in control and is simply a tortured family man, mourning the loss of his wife and children. Still, the movie features a reasonable amount of humour and a couple of rousing battle scenes as Hercules’ band of mercenaries, hired by the Thracian king Cotys (John Hurt) take on a band of rebels.
On the down side, the characterisation is skimpy (the comic did a better job of fleshing out Hercules’ comrades) and the plot twists are entirely predictable. However, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, hugely bulked and sporting impressive facial hair, does have a certain charisma and is suitably cast. The British accents and acting skills of Hurt, Rufus Sewell, Ian McShane and Rebecca Ferguson also class up the joint and add some meat to their characters’ bones and Ingrid Bolso Berdal as Atalanta, an Amazon warrior, makes an impression as well.
Cut to chase: Not a must watch but you could do worse.
Starring: Akshay Kumar, Tamannaah Bhatia, Sonu Sood, Krishna Abhishek, Mithun Chakraborty, Prakash Raj
Akshay Kumar can be pretty good with comedy (witness the excellent Hera Pheri) but, really, he needs a good script to work with. Unfortunately, It’s Entertainment is scraping the bottom of the barrel.
The plot, for what it’s worth, revolves around Akshay aiming to get rid of a dog called Entertainment because the mutt has inherited millions and it is an inheritance that our leading man feels that he is entitled to. But the canine millionaire isn’t so easy to do away with. And then the real villains of the piece (Sonu Sood and Prakash Raj) show up, predictably forcing man and dog to join forces.
The directorial debut of screen-writing duo Sajid-Farhad (Gol Mal Returns, Chennai Express, Singham), the movie starts reasonably and the first 10-15 minutes make you think that the movie just may prove to be some harmless, over-the-top fun. But It’s Entertainment soon descends into mindless mugging and endless punning – neither of which is very funny. The recurring bad puns get really boring after a while and the situations get very repetitive very fast. The cast does what it can with what they are given, Tamannaah Bhatia shows off some skin and there are a couple of semi-catchy songs but none of that is worth your time.
Cut to chase: It’s entertaining. NOT!
Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles*
Dir: Jonathan Liebesman
Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Johnny Knoxville (voice), Tony Shalhoub (voice)
Here’s another reboot of the series which started out life as a comic book by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. The plot revolves around the eponymous reptiles and their sensei Splinter, a mutated rat, taking on the dark forces of Shredder and his Foot Clan as they try and take over New York City. Helping them is the television journalist April O’Neill (Megan Fox, completely unrecognisable – after multiple, unnecessary plastic surgeries – from the fresh faced starlet who charmed everyone in the first Transformers movie) and her cameraman Vernon (Will Arnett, miscast).
I’m not sure who director Jonathan Liebesman, producer Michael Bay, and writers Josh Applebaum, Andre Nemec and Evan Daugherty have aimed this series reboot at. If the target market is kids then the movie has too much exposition and not enough fun. If it is the old-time fans (with kids of their own) then the movie neither has enough of an edge nor superior special effects or action scenes nor clever tongue-in-cheek humour. What it does have – typical of a Michael (Transformers) Bay extravaganza – is a lot of bombast and some loud explosions. And that’s not enough to make you waste your hard-earned money.
However, Michael Bay’s Midas touch at the box-office remains intact. The movie has opened big across the globe and so we are likely to be subjected to even more bland disasters like this one in the near future. Heaven help us.
Cut to chase: The series reboot has turned turtle.