Half man, half God: Hercules is back and ready to smash some heads in!
Hercules Unchained (1959) is a sequel to Hercules (1958) with the former Mr. Universe, Steve Reeves, once again taking on the role of the half god, half mortal. Unlike other Hercules that came after him (I am talking about you Kevin Sorbo) Steve Reeve’s Hercules comes across much like the Hercules of myth. In the myth Hercules has much more brawn than brains and is all heart in his actions. The fact that he is a bit flawed is what makes him so well liked. This movie helps people realize that a Hero like Hercules does not need to have both great strength and great cunning to save the day. As long as is heart is in the right place and he has crafty sidekick or two to back him up, things will work out in the end.
Hercules’s crafty sidekick in this adventure is his pal Ulysses. While I am not sure if this is supposed the same Ulysses who got his own epic poem later on, I am pretty sure that the moniker Ulysses was chosen to indicate that characters wiles. There is no doubt that while the Herc is the brawn of the group, Ulysses is the brains of the operation, figuring out way to get him and the big guy out of trouble time after time. That is not to say that Ulysses is not scrappy. Fact is, he can hold his own against most mortal men and is a sure shot with a bow and arrow.
The plot to this movie is as follows: Hercules is on a mission to get two brothers who are fighting over their father’s kingdom to quit fighting and take turns playing king. On his way back from one brother who is convinced by the big guy to play nice, Herc winds up drinking from the water of forgetfulness and then being captured by one hot mess of a evil Queen Omphale. It is up to Ulysses to send for help and to get the big guy to remember so that he can deliver his message and save the kingdom.
I will not go into detail was to how it all goes down in the end, you are going to have watch the movie yourself to find out. Let’s just say you will get a real kick out of all the gratuitous violence that results.