‘The Legend of Hercules,’ by the Numbers

The Legend of Hercules

This weekend, Kellan Lutz’s The Legend of Hercules tumbled into theaters and summarily flopped, managing only $8.6 million on a $70 million budget. Worse news for Mr. Lutz: Later this year, the Rock will be getting a turn onscreen as the all-powerful demigod. Meaning: Soon enough, in the great Hercules Wars of 2014, Lutz’s take will forever be marked as the Deep Impact to Dwayne’s Armageddon. And so before Legend gets swept forever into the dustbin of eight-pack history, we thought we’d offer a quick, statistically sound appraisal of the film. Women lie, men lie, numbers about how many times that one random dude from Twilight chokes out a lion don’t.

Number of D’s: 3. And said 3-D technology is, sensibly, put to work. Spears, fists, daggers, swords, chunks of cement swung by metal chains, glistening pectoral muscles — all this and more come flying directly at you, again and again. If you ever wanted to know what it’d look like if Kellan Lutz flying-screaming-air-punched you in the face, this is the movie for you!

Number of Flying, Screaming Air Punches: ∞. Speaking of flying, screaming air punches — the number of times that Kellan Lutz gets a running start, then leaps majestically into the air in order to smite a foe, while shrieking, with a flying, screaming air punch, is simply immeasurable. You’d think the imminently smote foes would see it coming after awhile — but nope! Flying, screaming air punch after flying, screaming air punch is landed with devastating efficacy. I’d quibble with the over-use, but presumably this is all supported by a close reading of the mythology.

Number of Minutes Before a Dude Raises a Sword to the Heavens, in the Pouring Rain, and Screams Like a Maniac: Ehh, two and a half? Right before, though, the same dude slo-mo choke-slams a guy to death, but then doesn’t cut off the guy’s head, choosing only to bandy his enemy’s helmet as his war trophy. And that lack of decapitation felt, relatively, like a remarkable display of restraint.

Number of Incidents of Ghost Sex: 1. OK, technically, it’s god sex, and it’s all for a good cause: Hercules’s mom cuckolds her husband with Zeus, thereby creating the little baby demigod that’ll bring peace to the land. But we actually get to see her in bed, writhing with ecstasy as the invisible spirit busts out his best moves, and so “ghost sex” seems fair enough. Later, Hercules’s mom describes it thusly: “Zeus came into my bed and blasted me with his seed to spawn a son to end your reign.” MMMHHHMMMM.

Number of Times Hercules Asphyxiates Someone or Something to Death: 2. Once when he drowns a fellow in soupy mud after winning a slave fight, and once when he chokes out the Nemean Lion. Cruel, you say? Well, he tried to bring down the Nemean Lion with his spear, and that wasn’t going anywhere, so bare-handing it to a slow and agonizing early death did seem to make the most sense. Also, this is by far the best part of the movie.

Longest String of Words Kellan Lutz Is Allowed to Say Uninterrupted: 14. In his defense: It’s a tough 14.

Number of Instances of Awkwardly Misplaced Chivalry: 2. At one point, Hercules is squaring off against a bunch of fierce gladiators, one of which happens to be a woman. He kills them all in brutal fashion — except for the woman, whom he gently traps in a fishing net. Which is, you know, kind of patronizing more than anything? Also, later, when Hercules’s brother, with whom he’s fighting over a girl, asks Hercules to “assure” him he hasn’t taken the girl’s “maidenhood,” Hercules says, “I assure you, brother [long dramatic pause], that it’s none of your business.” Then, later, Hercules and the love interest reunite, in a sort of erotically gauzy mid-forest sheepskin sex canopy. And if there was any question about her maidenhood before … As to who set up this mysterious forest bone space, we never do find out.

Number of Emotionally Weighted Lone Teardrops: 1. OK, yeah, but just one, though? Again: an impressive display of restraint.

Number of Characters Apparently Loosely Inspired by Bebop and Rocksteady: 2. At one point, we meet a couple of deformed, beastly gladiators named Half-Face and (seriously) Hoombaba, and all I could think about were Shredder’s mutant goons. Half-Face and Hoombaba have the hair styles of early-’90s ravers and/or Scary Spice, the parkour skills of young French teens &#8212 and they are murdered by Hercules with a flying, screaming air punch.

Number of Sharks Unexpectedly Eating Samuel L. Jackson: 0. Deep Blue Sea’s Renny Harlin directed this, but not once does he break up the drab proceedings by nodding back to his greatest cinematic achievement. A major disappointment, to say the least.

Percentage of Hemsworth Brother Approximated: 12.5. Obviously, Kellan Lutz can’t touch the hem of Chris Hemsworth’s garment, but even Liam Hemsworth would have him for breakfast. Maybe Lutz could hang with Luke Hemsworth, the one that’s famous only in Australia. But that’s about it.

Distance From the Movie Theater to a Non-Busy Chipotle: 20 feet. A true saving grace.

Filed Under: Movies, The Rock, kellan lutz, renny harlin

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Amos Barshad has written for New York magazine, Spin, GQ, XXL, and the Arkansas Times. He is a staff writer for Grantland.

Archive @ AmosBarshad