A spin-off from the popular TV show "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," which is also coexecutive produced by Sam Raimi, YOUNG HERCULES is an enjoyable video prequel to the series that features the same type of imaginative special effects, robust action sequences, and tongue-in-cheek
Trying to impress his father Zeus, 18-year-old half human-half god Hercules (Ian Bohen) is always getting into trouble and is sent by his human mother (Rachel Blakely) to a fighting academy. At the academy, Hercules is reluctantly partnered with a petty thief named Iolaus (Dean O'Gorman), and he
also befriends Jason (Chris Conrad), who's the son of King Aeson of Corinth, and a girl cadet named Yvenna (Johna Stewart). Hercules's evil half-brother Ares (Kevin Smith) poses as King Aeson's long-lost brother and plots to become king by making Aeson seriously ill. When Jason learns that his
father is dying, he goes home, joined by Iolaus and Hercules. During their journey, they repel an attack on their lives, and when they reach the palace, they're told by Ares that the only thing that can save Aeson is the Golden Fleece.
Jason, Hercules, and Iolaus set out to find the Fleece, accompanied by Yvenna and some other cadets. During the trip, they encounter a deadly Siren--who's actually Hercules's evil half-sister Discord (Meighan Desmond)--and defeat her attempt to have them kill each other. They eventually find the
Fleece and slay a giant who's protecting it, but Yvenna is killed during the battle. Back at the palace, Jason cures his father with the Fleece, but Ares then kills Aeson and stabs Jason. Hercules and Ares fight each other and Hercules temporarily vanquishes Ares. The wounded Jason is saved by the
Golden Fleece and becomes the new king, and Hercules and Iolaus set off for new adventures.
YOUNG HERCULES is simply a juvenile version of the weekly syndicated TV series starring Kevin Sorbo as the grown Hercules, offering the same exact New Zealand locations and mixture of amusing special effects (a huge, slithering snake; a giant with dagger-like teeth; a half man-half horse;
hallucinations brought on by the siren), energetic stunts (a cyclone scene with Herc and Iolaus twisting in the air; a terrific battle on the beach against marauders riding chariots with spiked wheels; the final Kung Fu-like fight between Herc and Ares while standing on top of burning poles), and
campy, anachronistic dialogue ("let's get ready to rumble, little brother") spoken by a cast of Valley Dudes and Dudettes. Director T.J. Scott's music-video style technique becomes annoying and excessive (replete with slow-mo, strobe lighting, jittery camerawork, and step-printing), but the pace
never slows down and the action scenes are exciting and well-staged. Sam Raimi's visual influence is evident in the frenetic comic-book compositions and the Ray Harryhausen-like effects, featuring lots of skeletons and rotting skulls. The whole thing is pure Saturday Matinee fantasy fodder, and a
teenage boy's wet dream, filled with plentiful sword fights and buxom young damsels. Taken on that level, it's quite entertaining. (Violence.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1998
- Rating: PG-13
- Review: A spin-off from the popular TV show "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys," which is also coexecutive produced by Sam Raimi, YOUNG HERCULES is an enjoyable video prequel to the series that features the same type of imaginative special effects, robust action se… (more)