‘Hercules Returns’ Movie Review


Director: Des Mangan

Starring: Bruce Spence, David Argue, Mary Coustas, well built Italians.

Plot: When a disheartened media executive decides to quit him job at Australia’s biggest multiplex chain to open an old-school cinema, his former boss (a media mogul who looks suspiciously like Rupert Murdoch) attempts to sabotage his opening night.

Review: This is the single most entertaining piece of cinema ever produced within the Australian coastline. Seriously. Adapted from the live performances done by Des Mangan and crew, the story is a framing device for the real action – a cheesy, low budget old Italian ‘Hercules’ movie re-dubbed with corny Australian accents for comedic effect. Whilst the story is basically bookends, it’s a dry satire of the state of media ownership populated by fond stereotypes of movie buffs, including Bruce Spence as ‘Sprocket’ (you didn’t notice him in The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix sequels and Star Wars Episode III).

The real fun begins when they get to their opening night and discover that their plan of screening a gala premiere of the last movie shown in the old movie house is derailed by the movie being in Italian with no subtitles. Thinking on their feet, they re-dub the dialogue on the fly. This leads to some brilliant, tongue in cheek low brow humour that only compliments the terrible acting and poor production values on screen.

To surmise the film within a film, Hercules is traveling to the city of Chlamydiae when he stops to rescue a drowning girl named Labia, the daughter of a night club owner who sees the opportunity to arrange a marriage. But first he must defeat Samson, or he will have to reveal his true homosexual nature and marry Samson instead. It’s crass, but there’s no way you can watch this without laughing your ass off. It’s the kind of movie you can laugh at one day and laugh at the exact same jokes on a repeat viewing the following day.

If you haven’t seen it yet, get thee to the video store and see Herses get his horse out of the haystack. And lower his nipples.

TEN outta TEN

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