What Not To Watch: The Adventures of Hercules
Let’s talk turkey.
It is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States and there are many things associated with the holiday. You’ve got the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys playing football, you have people planning their Black Friday shopping adventures, you have people complaining about how stores are open too early and that the holiday is supposed to be about being thankful for what you have and not about hanging out in a retail stores’ parking lot at 3am so you can trample on someone for a 32″ LED TV when the store opens. But at the center of all of all things Thanksgiving, is the beloved Thanksgiving turkey! The main course in the feast of feasts!
So I thought if I was going to post a review on Thanksgiving Day it should be a real turkey of a movie. And this one certainly fits the bill…
- Cannon Fodder: It can’t be a good sign that up until a few years ago, I had no idea there was a sequel to the original Hercules movie starring Lou Ferrigno. I was never a huge fan of the original, I enjoyed it for what it was, but I wasn’t searching the stores for Hercules toys or pretending to be Hercules in my backyard as a kid. And I certainly wasn’t anticipating a sequel like I did for Superman, Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark. Far worse than me, a simple movie lover, not knowing about the sequel, would be the rumors that Lou Ferrigno himself had no idea there was going to be a sequel to Hercules. The story goes that director Luigi Cozzi was hired by Cannon Films to film some additional scenes for another Cannon movie shooting in Italy, The Seven Magnificent Gladiators (that also starred Lou Ferrigno). After seeing the scenes Cozzi shot for The Seven Magnificent Gladiators, Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus asked Cozzi to write a story around those scenes and they would use them instead for The Adventures of Hercules. The Cannon owners also advised Cozzi to not let Ferrigno know that any additional scenes that needed to be shot were actually for a Hercules sequel. If that story was about anyone but Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, I wouldn’t give it any credence, but it sounds like something that was right up Cannon’s alley.
- The Opening Credits: The fact that The Adventures of Hercules only has an 88 minute run time and several of those minutes are courtesy of an extended opening credits sequence that featured the low budget version of the classic Superman The Movie opening credits, interspersed with highlights from the original movie adds more credibility to the fact that this sequel was pieced together and never really something that was planned.
- Not So Special Effects: One of the biggest complaints about Cannon’s original Hercules movie were the low budget special effects. But let me tell you, I was longing for those effects as I watched The Adventures of Hercules. Some of the stuff looked like it was filmed in the 60’s not the 80’s. And the parade of discount foes that Hercules squares off against in this one is down right embarrassing. It starts off with Hercules fighting Swamp Thing’s cousin, Forest Thing. Then there’s the fire monster that may or may not have been the inspiration for the Electric Gremlin in Gremlins 2: The New Batch. There were also some sort of slime people that looked like they came out of the Italian version of C.H.U.D. The bad effects weren’t limited to the bad guys, when Hercules and his female companion, Urania, eat some magic herbs that will give them gills and allow them to breathe underwater, they transform into glowing orbs. And the transformation fun doesn’t stop there. When Hercules battles the resurrected King Minos in the finale, they both transform into what I can best describe as something you’d see in an old Atari 2600 game if the game was projected into outer space. Hercules transforms into King Kong, while Minos is a T-Rex and eventually a giant serpent. I was looking for a joystick to control them as I watched.
If I were to ever compile a list of movie sequels that should have never been made, I’m confident The Adventures of Hercules would be in my top ten. As I said at the top… this movie is a real turkey.
Keeping with another Thanksgiving Day tradition of over eating, here’s a few more helpings of that turkey in the form of Bonus Bullet Points…
- The Plot in One Line: The seven thunderbolts of Zeus have been stolen by four gods that have gone rogue and only Hercules can retrieve them.
- 20 Minutes: It is about 20 minutes until you hear Hercules talk in the movie. And you NEVER hear Lou Ferrigno talk in the movie. I wonder if the guy who dubbed his voice was the same one who dubbed Franco Nero’s in Enter the Ninja?
- Thunderbolt Continuity: Urania refers to the “fourth lightning bolt” and then follows up with a “thunderbolt” reference seconds later.
- Alternate Title: Why would this movie be alternately known as The Adventures of Hercules II, if the original film was known simply as Hercules?
- Remember the Titans: When Hercules takes on the Gorgon broad, I thought for sure I was watching Clash of the Titans.
- Black Friday Challenge: If any of our readers are at a Target store with the big red concrete balls in the front of it, feel free to get some friends together and reinact the photo above and tweet it to us @BProofMedia.