Sunday, November 9, 2014

Movie Reviews - The Debt (2010), The Legend of Hercules (2014)

Short review tonight.  I'm actually in the midst of being deathly ill.  Okay, maybe not deathly ill, but I have a cough that would make Death stop and tell me I better go see a doctor.  Tonight's review isn't even a horror movie, but I'll do a double review so at least one of the movies is a fantasy flick.

The Debt (2010) is a story about a team of Israeli agents who went after a Death-camp doctor in 1965, and were supposed to take him to trial for his war crimes.  It was a normal enough tale in the years after the war, jewish agents searching for the nazi war criminals who had fled after the fall of the third reich.  I guess some of them went to Brazil, or had been there during the war, or something.  In any case, the one they were after decided to stick around berlin, and become a gynecologist, because...  well, why wouldn't he?  The 3-man team of israelis verifies his identity, kidnaps him, and then, due to circumstances beyond their control, they screw shit up.  The Debt is the 30-year story of how the mistake is finally rectified.

I liked this movie well enough.  I'm not such a huge fan of horror or gore that I need a body to drop every 15 minutes or I give up on the movie.  This movie was more about the human element of the aftermath of the war, and the story of an older agent that goes back in the field for one last gasp, than it was about the horrors of the nazi death camps.  That having been said, the death camp doctor is sure one hell of a scary villain.  I like how, 30 years after the original mission, and many years past his prime (he was old in 1965, which would have been 20 years after the end of WW2, and he's 30 years older than that when this movie takes place), the nazi death camp doctor is still just as goddamned dangerous as he was back then, perhaps even more so.  And if a story about an escaped nazi death camp doctor isn't partially a horror story, then what is, I ask you?  This movie was also kind of a spy/espionage thriller, without much action to it.  Which is fine.  I like spy stories, too.

The acting was good overall, and I thought Jessica Chastain as the young Rachel was suitably attractive.  She seemed to draw my eye on several occasions, and the rest of the cast did well enough.  Helen Mirren plays the lead role, as the older Rachel.  Not a ton of action, but more of a suspense and atmospheric thriller, with a message, something about telling the truth, I guess.  What action there was, was very well done, I thought.  Pretty realistic.  But, there wasn't any nudity at all.  I don't think I've given away too many spoilers that you wouldn't enjoy the movie, so please, watch it on Netflix, where I did, or see if it's still playing on HBO, as I remember seeing it on there once or twice.  When, I can't tell you right now.  I'm pumped so full of cough medicine I'm not even sure I'm wearing pants.

The Legend of Hercules (2014) was on HBO last night.  I can tell you right now, that HBO managing to get this movie in the same year it was released is not a testament to HBO's aggressive desire to bring you the best movies out there as soon as they can.  Mainly because the Legend of hercules wasn't very good.

The Legend of Hercules (2014) is, in case you haven't guessed, about Hercules.  yea, you know the guy, probably heard of him.  Greek hero, bit of a strong man, son of Zeus?  Rings a bell, right?  Anyway, this is sort of a different take on his legend, which, as you may know, if how they do thins nowadays.  They reinvent the same bored old trash.  But I digress.  This movie tells a little backstory of hercules birth, and why he came into the world, and pretty much tells you why the greeks referred to him as Heracles (the romans renamed him Hercules because the queen of the gods was named Juno in their pantheon, not Hera, and they pretty much just stole all the greek gods and made them roman because they didn't have any gods of their own, the thieving wankers).  Then, you fast-fowards 20 years to a short 3-month period in hercules young life when he was son to the king of...  um...  well, wherever he was born.  yea.

No nudity in this movie either.  Strange for a sword-swinging fantasy epic that there wouldn't be any nudity but eh, there it is.  The actors were mainly forgettable and unknown to me except for the guy that plays Chiron, hercules' tutor.  Supposedly, in the myth, he was a centaur, but the guy in this movie didn't ever even ride a horse as far as I recall.  The special effects were a bit lame and the action was, meh, so-so, I guess.  There were a few good fight scenes, though mostly short ones, and the only really heroic thing hercules did in this movie, I mean, something that you might recall from knowing his legend, was to kill the Namean Lion.

Which brings up an important point.  Supposedly, the Namean Lion's skin couldn't be pierced (much like achilles, perhaps... maybe they swam in the same pool of magic water), so really, the only way you could kill the thing was with the strength of hercules, or maybe catching him in a rockslide or something.  So hercules does the heroic thing, and kills the lion, and I thought, yay, now the movie is going somewhere! and then.. it didn't.  hercules let his brother take the credit for killing the lion (wait, what?) and then, somehow, in the final fight, the Lion's skin ends up being worn by hercules.  But..  how'd he get it?  Maybe i dozed off at some point during the movie, because, his brother supposedly killed the lion, then kept the hide, and hercules went away, and was never near it again, and then POOF it's around his shoulders during the final battle.  Where the shit did that come from?  :-o  Either I missed that part or they edited it out.  Meh.  There wasn't much else in the movie that was of note.

So, to sum up, maybe catch The Debt if you like aging spy thrillers or suspenseful dramas, or like seeing Jessica Chastain's legs.  Only watch hercules if you really want to see just how a lion whose skin can't be pierced can be killed, because otherwise, the rest of the movie is kind of lame.

Okay, I'm going to go crawl into bed and try not to die.  Catch you guys next weekend, assuming I make it.  No, go away Death, it's just a cold.  Shut up, it is not ebola.  That Death guy, what a jokester!

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