After the creation of the universe Zeus (Claudio Cassinelli) decides that he needs to balance out the evil that is going on. He creates a spirit that he puts into the child of the King and Queen of Thebes. Hera (Rossana Podesta) is not happy with this arrangement and works against Zeus and on the side of Evil, in the form of a Magician named King Minos (William Berger) and his daughter Adriana (Sybil Danning). Adriana steals the sacred golden “Sword That Stops the Fire” and leads a revolt against the King so that Minos’ minion Valcheus (Gianni Garko) can take over Thebes.
The King and Queen are killed but the baby is taken away by a maid from the palace. She places the infant in a small boat and is about to sail down the river with the child when she is killed by an arrow. The small boat drifts down the river toward a raging waterfall. Minos’ men believe the child will eventually drown but Zeus interferes and deposits the boat past the waterfall and in calm waters where is floats toward the bank of the river. A childless couple finds the boat and adopts the baby raising Hercules (Lou Ferrigno) as their own.
When Hercules is grown his parents are killed one by one. His father is attacked by a bear that Hera sends and his mother by a mechanical creature that Minos has the deity Daedalus (Eva Robins) create. With no family left Hercules is determined to find out why all this tragedy has been happening to him. He heads for the city of Tyre. King Augeias (Brad Harris) is holding a competition to find the best warrior for an important mission. Hercules wins the competition. He is charged with taking the King’s daughter Cassiopeia (Ingrid Anderson) to Athens.
Cassiopeia is kidnapped and Hercules is tossed into the ocean. He ends up on an island where he gets some help from the Sorceress Circe (Mirella D’Angelo). Hercules must face many trials to try to rescue Cassiopeia from the green isle of Thera and the city of Atlantis before Minos sacrifices her to the goddess Hera.
“Hercules” was released in 1983 and was directed by Luigi Cozzi (AKA Lewis Coates). It is a sword and sandal sub-genre film. Labeled as an updated version of the Hercules story it deviates from the normal Hercules cannon tremendously. They did manage to work in a few of the Labors of Hercules but quite a few liberties were taken with the original story.
Except for the sexy costumes of the women, the film is basically for kids. Unless you’re a young boy going through puberty. Then it's all for you. The special effects are numerous but due to budget issues they are not exactly top shelf. There is plenty of action and the story should be interesting but somehow it falls a little flat.
This is one of those movies that will depend on your evaluation of cheeze to determine if it is good or not. Some may find it horrible and some campy. Others will probably put it in the so bad it’s good category. I felt that the script was awful and some of the acting stiff. The story was a little bit all over the place but it had potential had it been done right, but alas no. The movie itself had promise but the budget was too small to bring the special effects and thereby the movie’s possibilities to fruition.
There are three “monsters” in the film. The monsters are three mechanical creations. One looks like a bug, the second a three headed-ish dragon and the third a centaur. The monsters themselves are actually decent looking. The problem is in the execution of the monsters in the scene. They look a little cut and paste in the film, which takes away from their effectiveness as monsters. There was also something that was supposed to look like snakes but didn't.
Lou Ferrigno was a bodybuilder before doing films. He had to have his lines dubbed due to his having a speech impediment from being partially deaf. As a child Lou suffered from an ear infection that resulted in permanent partial hearing loss. He was the only person to be cast as The Hulk without the use of any CGI. He won several bodybuilding titles. “Mr. Universe” in 1973 and 1974, “Mr. America” in 1973 and “Mr. Teenage America” in 1970. He was the youngest bodybuilder to hold the “Mr. Universe” title.