The mighty Sons of Hercules would thunder through the years, these men of steel would never feel the curse of a coward's fears!!!" Apparently all these Sons of Hercules movies open with the same song, which goes on and on about how strong and noble and bulgey all Herc's boys have become. Wow can you imagine what a pain in the butt Hercules' annual Christmas letter must have been? i.e." Young Lothar is at the tops of his class in bull wrestling and he's hefting boulders at a 7th grade level." Plus what pressure it must have put on any of Herc's less macho sons. What about Blaine, the quiet one who favors his mother, writes poetry and likes to mend the wings of small injured birds? Where does he fit into the Hercules family scheme of things? Eh, let's just enjoy the movie.
Once the peppy ballad is finished we see Ulysses on the deck of a ship talking about how happy he is to finally get home after years and years of expending Trojans. You get a bad impression of him right off because he is wearing a sweat stained old vest, with no shirt underneath, that looks like he wore it under his armor EVERY DAY during the entire Trojan War. Kinda reminds me of some of the scarier guys who hang around the bus station out in Hollywood.
Cut to Herc's son, Pericles, who is arguing with his gal pal Helen about their relationship. (His dad would have just stalked off and gone Hydra hunting with the boys.) He tells her he has to book on a mission for God, in this case, Jupiter. He can't hang around talking chick stuff, so off he goes to capture Ulysses, whom the gods want to punish for blinding Neptune's son Polpyhemus the Cyclops. Perky leaves Helen to be romanced by some suave looking SOB who is standing in the wings and twirling his mustachioes like a Doric Snidely Whiplash. This is especially bad because Perky is anything but suave.
Perky hops a ship and gets the crew to capture Ulysses while he lounges around looking like he's posing for a statue. The ship captain assures Perky that Ulysses cannot escape the many many bonds they have placed on the king of Ithaca, which is a cue for Ulysses to instantly slip his bonds and escape. To cover his escape he sets the ship afire and dives overboard.
Perky offers a pot of gold to anyone who catches the wily Greek king, so all the sailors abandon their attempts to put out the raging deck fire on the ship, which quickly burns to ashes, leaving them all stranded miles and miles out at sea. Ulysses punches out the sailors who don't drown while chasing him and makes it to shore. Perky is right behind and catches Ulysses after he trips over an inconveniently placed sand dune. He doesn't have long to gloat though, since both men are attacked by a small army of bizarre cawing dudes dressed like blue birds. Our heroes are bundled and trundled off to see the Queen. She's dressed like a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl, (Appropriate since the Greek playwright Aristophanes and his collaborator Limpwristophanes, invented musical theater.) The boys try to talk the Queen into letting them go free but to no avail. Sorry she says, but I need to sacrifice you to our God, the Giant Vulture that lives in the woods. How disappointing for the fellas.
Overnight the two get to talking and bond a little. Ulysses explains to Perky that they might influence the Queen if they play the playuh with her, Socrates-style. The Queen is a golden tressed hottie, so the next morning when she visits her prisoners it's not hard for them to chat her up. She digs it but essentially tells them" Sorry, but Giant Vulture God gotta eat!" Thanks to a sharp plan on Ulysses behalf, a convenient lightening bolt and a savage spring shower, the birdmen are temporarily driven off and the brawny duo escape.
This is where Pericles proves that his momma didn't slap him enough. Once they've safely escaped thanks to Ulysses planning, Perky re-captures him with a sucker punch and trusses him up for delivery to Neptune's justice. What a total tool, right? Through some inexplicable plot contrivances the two become separated and wind up working for opposing warring kings. When they are eventually reunited.... well I'll leave some mystery for you.
This was an entertaining entry in the sword and sandals genre. Georges Marchal who played Ulysses gives one of the best on-screen portrayals of that character I've ever seen. He plays Ulysses as intelligent, noble, polished and worldly. He's a perfect mentor for young Perky, who is played as a little too impulsive and perhaps naive for his own good. Perky is played ably by Mike Lane who did A lot of TV including the role of Frank N. Stein in the TV series The Monster Squad. There is a strong chemistry between the two heroes and I would have liked to have seen the movie focus a little more on their relationship. That's what mainly sets this apart from the host of Hercules epics striding boldly around out there. After it was over I found myself wishing for a sequel.
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