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?

THIS JUST IN: Immortals Trailer

I was in the midst of writing a news post when this IMMORTALS trailer arrives. It was yanked out for copyright issues earlier today, but now it’s back on. So let’s just get to it, shall we?

Well, considering how many times I’ve blogged about this movie, you probably know I’ve been anticipating this one for ages. The trailer looks stunning, but I guess I’m expecting it to look a lot more unique. After all, the director promises “… Caravaggio meets Fight Club … It’s a really hardcore action film done in Renaissance painting style…” as I mentioned in this post.

Hmmm, I’m not really seeing what he described and its resemblance to 300 in terms colors scheme and even camera angles/movements are so obvious that some movie sites even saying it’s like watching a 300 sequel. Yes I know it’s from the same producers and I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the visuals of the Zack Snyder’s movie, but I’m just expecting Immortals to have its own look as the Indian director is known for a distinctive visual flair as evident in The Fall. It could be just a marketing strategy on the studio part though, given what a smashing success 300 was given its relatively low budget. So hopefully, the actual movie won’t turn out to be too identical to 300, or Zeus forbid, Clash of the Titans! Surely the acting and storytelling style has got to be better than Clash.

So yeah, this one’s still got enough going for it to make a fan of swords & sandals genre like me REALLY want to see this. For one thing, Henry Cavill looks pretty convincing as Theseus, so I’m sold on that front and even more excited to see him as Superman.

Well, what do you think, people? Are you sold on this one?

Updates on Tarsem’s Greek Saga IMMORTALS

Oooh, lookie here! I’ve been waiting for ages for this movie and finally this weekend we’ve got some goodies courtesy of WonderCon in San Francisco.

Tarsem with Luke Evans, Henry Cavill and Isabel Lucas

(Photo courtesy of nerdreactor.com)

I’ve been talking about this movie as far back as July 2009 around the time Clash of the Titans was filming. I thought it’d go head to head at the box office, hence the Theseus vs. Perseus title. I’ve blogged extensively about it when the name is changed from War of Gods to Immortals, listed it as one of my top ten anticipated movies of 2010, only to learn the release date’s been pushed back yet again. Now it’s back again on my anticipated list of this year, but this time the release date has been set to November 11. So clearly I’m not kidding when I said I can’t wait for this movie 🙂

Now, I’m a sucker for swords and sandals flick, as Ben-Hur and Gladiator are two of my all time favorite films. As it were, my disappointment with Clash of the Titans hasn’t put me off Greek mythology just yet. I remain hopeful mainly because of the visionary director, Tarsem Singh, whose sophomore feature film The Fall was such a visual feast and boast an interesting story (check out the trailer here). As I’ve stated in this newsflash post, he’s revealed that this project is done in the style of “… Caravaggio meets Fight Club … It’s a really hardcore action film done in Renaissance painting style… I’m going for a very contemporary look on top of that so I’m kind of going with, you know, Renaissance time with electricity.” Now, if that doesn’t make you at least intrigued to see it, I don’t know what will!

Before I continue, check out these five stunning character posters (courtesy of impawards) to wet our appetite even more.

immortals poster1
immortals poster2 immortals poster 3
immortals poster  4 immortals poster 5

Click on each poster for a larger version.

I’ve talked about the plot many times, but this is an updated synopsis from the WonderCon site:

“… an epic tale of treachery, vengeance, and destiny in Immortals, a stylish and spectacular adventure. As a power-mad king razes ancient Greece in search of a legendary weapon, a heroic young villager rises up against him in a thrilling quest as timeless as it is powerful.”

And now that I’ve heard two of the main cast, Henry Cavill (Theseus) and Luke Evans (Zeus) on various WonderCon interviews, I couldn’t be any more excited! Thanks to a tip from Scarlet Sp1der yesterday, I also found this interview footage from Collider site with Henry Cavill and Luke Evans. You might remember Evans from the Three Musketeers‘ trailer I put up last week, he plays Aramis. You gotta love the Brits. These guys are not only VERY easy on the eyes but they’re just so darn witty, funny and humble. Henry and Luke seem to have become good friends since working together and they certainly have a good rapport together.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

You probably noticed in the poster that Immortals is produced by Mark Canton and Gianni Nunnari, the same producers of 300. When asked about the similarities and differences between the two, Henry had this to say, “The similarities are the fighting nature, the action of it is visceral and exciting… major difference is that 300 is an ‘event’ story, ‘immortals’ is a journey involving many different chess pieces… You get to follow a character’s and their story throughout as opposed to just one event.” I like that answer a lot and I’m sure this one would be more of a visual feast than that Zack Snyder movie.

Too bad Henry couldn’t say much of anything about his upcoming role as Superman for legal reasons, but he did say he’s currently training with the same trainer Mark Twight from Gym Jones who trained Gerry Butler into that crazy buff shape. As Henry said, his priority now is “… getting my body into the right aesthetic state”  Can’t wait!! 🙂

Here’s an interview I found from WonderCon:

Well, how do you feel about this project and/or the filmmaker and cast of this movie? Are you as excited about Immortals as much as I do?