He SHOULD wear a mask....of Shame!
Hammock Rider | Talk of the Town Trailer Estates Park - Southern C | 10/21/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I love movies where Hercules appears outside his traditional time-line. I like seeing Herc capable of popping up anywhere at any time. Among other things it gives you a sense that if the chips are ever really down a beefy, oiled-up lug might boldly stride out of the wilderness and help you change a tire or smite a tyrannical Customer "Service" Rep. And it's just fun to see the masterful Herc as a bit of a fish-out-of-water.
This time Herc shows up in sunny Spain. The time is never specified but some of the evil hordes wear conquistador helmets so maybe it's set around the 1400's-1500's? How does Herc arrive at that time and place? It's Peplum magic,baby!
In his usual role of helper monkey to the oppressed, Mr. Pecs O'Plenty teams up with a Zorro-type fella known imaginatively as...the Masked Rider! Don't let the DVD cover kid you, this is the Masked Rider's show.
Hercules and Zorro vs. evil conquistadors sounds like the kind of crazy premise that could only work in a peplum. Could is the operative word, because while I think this was a good idea for a movie, it doesn't really deliver.
The action is pretty flat and that's a death sentence for a movie in this genre. There is a decent amount of fencing with rapiers and such, and I'm a big fan of lively sword fighting, but the swordplay in this move is very uninspiring. It's poorly choreographed and lacks any emotional content. Lackluster describes most of the fights herein.
Also, most of the film is devoted to the story of the Masked Rider. He's a military man who comes home and finds his ladylove engaged to an evil count, who is also, naturally, oppressing the people. So the hero, Don Juan dons the garb of the Masked Rider and pulls a Zorro act. There is way too much slow moving drama involving him and his love, Dona Blanca, played by the lovely José Greci, who also appeared in Hercules Against the Mongols, Hercules Against the Barbarians and many others.
The biggest problem is Hercules himself. Alan Steele swaggers about with appropriate gusto, even for one of the smaller and more awkward Herculae. He does have the proper Hercic attitude. However he doesn't even show up until almost a third of the way through the movie. He probably has about 15 minutes of screen time all told. And when he does show up, he is seriously de-powered. He doesn't do anything very "Herculesey". There are no Styrofoam boulders, fake trees or rubber chains for him to wonk out on. He's less a demi-god and more just a stocky guy who likes to walk around shirtless and punch other stocky guys in the head.
All in this entire movie is a big disappointment. Usually I can find something to like about almost any peplum, but this one is so dull and tedious I can't even work up the enthusiasm to make fun of it properly. It's a life-draining waste of time.