FlixChatter [Guest] Review: HERCULES (2014) & Spotlight on Rufus Sewell as Autolycus


I love going to a movie when I’m really not going there to see the movie. This can only mean one thing – Rufus Sewell is once more on the big screen. He played one of Hercules’ band of mercenaries, Autolyclus, and wow, did he ever buff up for this role. He also got to shed his typecast “bad guy” role that he’s keen to be rid of. You gotta love men’s Grecian/Roman wardrobe, Ruf wears them well. Too bad I missed out on bidding for his costume on ebay. The winning bid only $1,090? I would have easily coughed up more than that  ;-D.

Rufus himself on his character, Autolycus

I promised Flixy this review would be short, but when I found this excerpt from the film’s production notes on The Rooftop where Rufus talks more about his role, that promise just went out the window:

Autolycus might lack for Hercules’ astonishing strength, but he has more than made up for it with the sharp blade of his wit, ultimately becoming Hercules’ master strategist. Rufus Sewell, the English actor recently seen in “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” takes on the role of Hercules’ wisecracking friend.

“Autolycus and Hercules go way back, and they’ve got each other’s backs,” Sewell explains. “They have a kind of communication that goes beyond words. They’ve always worked together, and that’s a source of great pride to Autolycus, that he knows Hercules better than anyone else.” At the same time,

Autolycus has a cheeky side Sewell found a lot of fun. “He’s a bit of a wheeler dealer,” Sewell confesses. “He’s got a sarcastic tongue and a real sense of humor with Hercules. He not only is the brains of the operation but he’s also the one who is always thinking about the gold coinage. He does have a good heart, but he often keeps it hidden.”


In battle, Autolycus utilizes a series of blades to his advantage – which for Sewell, meant he knew he had to start training the minute he accepted the role. “You know there’s going to be a lot of training when you have to stand next to Dwayne Johnson, and be even remotely believable as the same species,” jokes Sewell. “I did fight training, weight training and weapons training. Since we’re mercenaries, the fighting in the film is very much to the point. There isn’t a lot of fancy footwork. At the same time, what I love about the film is that it has so much humor and humanity.”
“Every set was like something out of Cecil B. DeMille, with that kind of scope,” recalls Rufus. “It makes a big difference to actors because you’re reacting to a real environment.”

More on Autolycus

Oh, and what about his acting, you say? His character is not a cliche, but one with strong emotions: sincerity to rage, matter-of-fact to tongue-in-cheek. He likes playing well-rounded characters, so I imagine this one fit the bill for him perfectly. Rufus, along with Ian McShane, provide comic relief. He does love his gold, which causes him to almost abandon the cause, but in the end he stays loyal. Favorite line from Autolyclus: “Don’t just stand there… kill someone!”


On the Movie

And just in case you think I’m writing this only to talk up Rufus, you’re almost correct, but here’s what I actually thought about it. Since I didn’t go in with ANY expectations, I was pleasantly surprised. The plot is perfectly uncomplicated but never boring, the battle scenes weren’t “shaky” and included battle strategies that were quite unique to me, and the wide-shot aerial cinematography was sweeping and scenic and CGI didn’t seem to be overused. Hercules’ superhuman strength is illustrated by a horse and rider being tossed into the air, not by any mythical creatures.


I don’t really go out of my way to see Dwayne Johnson flicks, but he really was perfect for this role. And boy, do I ever like his look when he’s got beard and hair. The rest of the cast fill their roles well. To hear more about the them, check out this video feature with director Brett Ratner and Dwayne:


Bottom Line

I don’t go to many summer PG13 action adventure films so Hercules may be lacking for some more jaded and sophisticated movie goers (Yes, Ted S., I know who you are… you’re at the very top of this list!), but Hercules gets a solid 3.5 reels from me. And even though Flixchatter ratings only go up to five, Rufus, of course, as usual, gets a perfect 10.

3.5 reels


Now, what do you think of Hercules?

11 thoughts on “FlixChatter [Guest] Review: HERCULES (2014) & Spotlight on Rufus Sewell as Autolycus

  1. Ted S.

    Hi Becky,

    LOL, well I can’t deny I’m “that” movie goer and I just can’t support anything that involves the name Brett Ratner; he’s one of the biggest and luckiest scammers who ever worked in Hollywood. But nice review of a movie that I’ll probably won’t be seeing anytime soon, haha! I do like Rufus though, too bad he’s stuck doing supporting role in American films.

    Now I’m sure you’ve already seen it but what did you think of Dark City? I think that’s the only American film where he played the lead.

    1. PrairieGirl

      Hey Ted, good thing I was just as clueless about Hercules director. Oh for sure, Ruf was great in Dark City. He’s had several leading roles on TV but I think his performance in Hercules will bring him higher-profile parts in films. I guess we’ll find out when his part in Gods of Egypt comes out in 2016.

      1. Hey Becky, I LOVE that you shone the spotlight on Rufus on this review! No doubt he’s the scene stealer here, as he always is in most movies! Oh my, I forgot that he’s in Gods of Egypt too. WOW so many hunks in that one! As you know Gerry Butler AND Nikolaj Coster-Waldau are in it, talk about a trifecta of gorgeous European hunks in one movie! I sure hope the script is at least decent tho.

        1. PrairieGirl

          Hey Flixy, yes’ it’s always fun to let out the Love for Rufus. Looking forward to GOE… $150 mil budget, Dark City director Alex Proyas and hunky cast (and Jeffrey Rush thrown in as a bonus) sounds very promising, let’s keep our fingers crossed!

  2. jackdeth72

    Hi, Prairie Girl:

    I’ve been a fan of Mr. Sewell since first seeing him in ‘Dark City’. Where there was something wide eyed, naïve and unreadable about his face. Which he’s used to his advantage in later offerings, ‘A Knight’s Tale’, ‘Zen’ and ‘Restless’. Though, I did have a hard time believing his young WWII agent would grow up to be Michael Gambon.

    Very expressive eyes centered in a deadpan face add to his many character’s mystique and intrigue. Not a huge fan of “Swords and Sandals” films. Though I might bite on ‘Hercules’.

    1. PrairieGirl

      Hi Jack, wow, I’ve ranted way more than once about the choice of Michael Gabon to play the older Ruf in Restless. How in the world did that happen?? Glad to see someone else noticed that casting mistake! Love your assessment of RS acting, even I couldn’t have said it better. Swords, sandals, Italian detective or Russian spy… all OK by me if it’s Rufus. ;-D

  3. Hazel Jarvis

    Hi PrairieGirl
    Have to own up and say, only went to see Hercules because Rufus was in it. Enjoyed it as a whole though, a fun romp!! Battle scenes were good and Rufus had plenty of screen time.
    It was great to meet you during the Old Times run last year, hope we get a chance to catch up in the future.

    Hazel (LTM)

  4. PrairieGirl

    Hi Hazel, of course it’s always great to see Rufus in just about anything, but if the film is good too, what a bonus! I confess I’ve been MIA on the Rooftop for quite a while and by now I’m starting to miss it. Very nice to meet you too at OT, that was quite a fun Saturday night, wasn’t it. Nice to hear from you, and thanks for checking in to Flixchatter 😉

  5. Pingback: » Movie Review – Hercules (2014) Fernby Films

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