Rating: PG-13 for sequences of intense combat action and violence, and for some sensuality.
It may be first but it's certainly not very good, with almost nothing to recommend it -- except perhaps Mr. Lutz's sculpted bare chest and the fan base he built as Emmett Cullen in "The Twilight Saga."
"The Legend of Hercules," directed by Renny Harlin and shot largely in Bulgaria, suffers from distracting 3-D, generic real or digital backgrounds, leaden dialogue and fight scenes that play as if they were MMA bouts in which the actors leap into the air and are captured with freeze frames as onlookers sometimes chant "Fight! Fight!"
The story dramatizes the unusual circumstances surrounding Hercules' conception with a human mother and god Zeus as his father. After fast-forwarding 20 years we see what happens when Hercules' earthly royal father conspires to exile and eliminate him, setting the stage for Hercules' beloved (Gaia Weiss) to marry his scheming half-brother, Iphicles (Liam Garrigan).
Hercules is enslaved far from home but literally battles his way back to the kingdom in a story with the sort of bloodless combat scenes typical of PG-13 rated movies. "The Legend of Hercules" should be stirring and formidable but instead proves largely lifeless and ludicrous.
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