What to do when you’re a demigod fresh off the heels of completing twelve epic labors as part of a penance tour? Adopt the life of a disillusioned mercenary and become a sell-sword whose skills are available to the highest bidder. That, in a nutshell, is the basic conceit behind Hercules, the second of two 2014 productions concerned with the legendary Greek hero’s most infamous exploits, and also the latest big-budget vehicle for Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in his budding career as an action star.
A couple of weeks back, Paramount released the first trailer for the film, a brief spot that sets up the groundwork for Hercules‘ plot as well as the overall tone director Brett Ratner is shooting for. Now, a fresh clip has popped up online to join that initial promo, one that’s very obviously, very heavily edited – all the better to tease, of course. That still may leave some feeling like we’ve been given a less complete perspective on Hercules here, but it’s nice that the studio has extrapolated on footage presented in the last preview.
You may have a vague recollection of some of the imagery here courtesy of that original trailer: tattooed, bearded baddies bursting out of the ground, armed to the teeth and ready to scrap. The above clip gives us more proper context for that particular beat, as Hercules and some of his chums – including Rufus Sewell and John Hurt – walking headlong into a textbook ambush. They enter a scorched hamlet, still burning following an apparent off-screen raid and littered with the bodies of the fallen – except that they’re not dead, just napping, until Peter Mullan wanders too close and the trap is sprung.
Someone, somewhere, will want to make the obvious Admiral Ackbar reference here (Sewell does just that himself, though his sardonic delivery is almost more Serenity than Star Wars). Johnson, for his part, plays it cool, or perhaps more accurately he plays it badass, brandishing his sword and bedecked in his full Nemean lion regalia, letting go one seriously intimidating battle cry before we cut to black.
Interspersed among this sequence are moments that are almost certainly lifted from another scene in the film entirely (unless we’re to believe that the small army Johnson faces here is being led by a clean-cut, refined soldier on horseback). What Paramount and MGM hope to accomplish by muddling the clip with tangential content is sort of unclear, but maybe it’s better they do that then show off too much of the movie for its own good.
At a glance, Hercules looks like a blend of 300, Lord of the Rings, the aforementioned space operas, and other influences – but it also doesn’t look too shabby, either. We’ll see how it turns out come July.
Hercules arrives in theaters on July 25th, 2014.
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