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To make one thing clear from the beginning, this film has little to do
with the actual legend of Hercules, other than it's set in ancient Greek,
the hero has a beard and big muscles ... but that shouldn't stop one from
enjoying, now should it (as a matter of fact, neither the Italian
Hercules movies from the 1950's & 60's, nor the tv-series Hercules:
Legendary Journeys, nor Walt Disney's Hercules had all that
much to do with the legend either).
But on with the show: In this one, the gods reside on the moon, and
watch the events on earth unfold, when Hercules' parents are slaughtered,
Hercules (Lou Ferrigno) is saved from certain death by god Zeus and is
brought up to manhood somewhere in the woods ... but soon enough, his
foster parents are slain by villain King Minos (William Berger), who
resides in Atlantis, the capital of Thera, which he rules together with
his daughter Ariana (Sybil Danning) & his inventor friend from the
Chaos, Dedalos (Eva Robins). And with the help of Dedalos, Minos throws an
array of science fiction robots towards Hercules, which the hero usually
defeats though ... and besides fighting robots, Hercules even has time to
fall in love with virginal Cassiopeia (Ingrid Anderson), which Minos
kidnaps only minutes later though to sacrifice her to the Phoenix which
lives in a volcano beneath Atlantis & needs a virgin sacrifice every
now and again.
Somehow, Hercules finds himself unable to get to Thera, so he enlists
the help of witch Circe (Mirella D'Angelo), who persuades him to go to
hell (quite literally) with her & fetch her winged carriage to fly to
Thera (on a route that for some strange reason leads through outer space
& a meteor belt).
Once on Thera, Circe - who has since fallen inlove with Hercules - is
killed by one of Minos' robots, & Hercules first has to defend himself
against the amourous advances of Ariana (who wants to be impregnated by
him to bear superhuman children).
Finally though, Hercules faces Minos, and in their fight frees the
Phoenix, thereby not only defeating the villain but wrecking Atlantis ...
Hercules & Cassiopeia though manage to save themselves & look
into a brighter future.
As I said, this has little to do with the Hercules legends, & in
style the film resembles more closely director Luigi Cozzi's own
sci-fi-spectacle Star Crash
than either the Italian peplums from the 1960's or Conan
the Barbarian, the film it was made to cash in on - and for that
reason, Hercules is dismissed by most genre-fans & -critics
alike ... who of course don't see the point:
Hercules shouldn't be perceived as yet another Conan
rip-off but a spaced out genre hommage, an elaborate in-joke, imagination
run wild and a wonderful piece of conscious 1980's trash at the same time.
Of course it's easy to dismiss the film - Hercules fighting robots often
bearing an uncanny resemblance to Fisher Price Toys, what is there not
silly about it ? -, but if you keep an open mind and watch the film as a
triplike experience, you will be richly rewarded ...