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  • Mike_Noga22 December 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    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.
  • I only needed to hear the "Mighty Sons of Hercules"-song in the beginning to get in a good mood from this film. A really pulpy and entertaining peplum with some fantastic ingredients, my favorites being the vulture-people and their bigbreasted queen (who of course falls in love with both Hercules and Ulisses). The non-plot is basically that Hercules is on a mission from the gods to find and capture Ulisses for blinding the Cyklops. Ulisses outsmarts Hercules and manages to escape, encounters some fantastic creatures or evil queens, is captured again, outsmarts Hercules, escapes, encounters creatures etc. in absurdum. Of course the two heroes finally becomes the best of friends and joins forces to defeat the evil king Lagos (wonderfully played by Gianni Santuccio), a sweaty, sickly and rambling madmen who likes to torture women and uses his army of neanderthal men to pillage the nearby villages in quest for total power. Great silly fun.
  • Ulysess versus Heracles is a good example of Italian sword and sandal epics. Ignore the really bad dubbing, they don't seem to realize Mike Lane is playing Hercules and not his son, and you'll see a fun film. Georges Marchal isn't known to me, but he's quite good at Ulysess.

    Ulisee has offended the Gods and Heracles is sent to punish him. They encounter some crazed bird-men who are ruled by a beautiful queen, check the outfits on this one! Then Ulisee is captured by a crazed Tyrant who rules over cave-men and its up to Herc to rescue him. The scene of ulisee nearly being crushed by a descending stone ceiling is very well done.

    Near the end, Ulisee shows his honor and saves Herc's girl from certain death, even when he has the chance to escape and get back to his faithful Penelope. Impressed, Hercules implores his Father, Zeus, to forgive Ulysses. Its one of the most beautiful prayers I've ever heard in a movie like this. Lane and Marchal are excellent, the girls are pretty and the film moves rather well. Lane plays Herc as strong, but not invincible, which helps. A lot of fun.
  • Ulysses - or Odysseus - vas an Achean adventurer-king who probably lived in the Aegean area around 13th century B.C., battled against the Asian city of Troy and reportedly destroyed it with the Trojan horse stratagem. Hercules was the mythical hero of an entirely different Greek civilization, the Doric one, who established itself on the ruins of the Achean kingdoms from the 11th century B.C. on. So the two men could have scarcely met in history, but in film they did! The result was a true Clash of the Titans: the cunning, seafaring king of Ithaca against the muscle-bound son of Zeus, here without the typical Steve Reeves evenly-trimmed beard. According to screenplay the father of all gods asks the strongest man ever to capture Ulysses and give him for revenge to the blinded Cyclops Polyphemus, the son of another offended divinity. While Hercules, always the zealot, promptly embarks on his errand to punish Ulysses, the latter reacts as a true hero of the human condition against evils that come from the gods. He is captured by Hercules, but in the end the two men will have to join forces to escape the bloodthirsty race of the Bird-men and battle the evil Troglodytes of king Laro, a madman who enjoys torturing women. With the aid of Ircanus, king of the eponymous city, they will defeat the villain along with his monster-cavemen; Hercules will have his beloved Helen while Ulysses will finally return to Ithaca. Mario Caiano, future director of "Amanti d'oltretomba", a minor cult classic in the Gothic vein, toys here with a good Ulysses (Georges Marchal) and a despisable Hercules (Mike Lane), a man who is truly softer than butter, capable of leaving a friend in the hands of his worst enemies and always eager to play the "amoroso", or young man in love. This ill-assorted but funny couple moves in a scenario which makes you think of future spaghetti-westerns, what with well-photographed ravines and desert beaches, & with the addition of fancy extras in "monster" make-up. The Bird-men dance better than they kill, but the Troglodyte cavemen will really impress a band of captive young women. Screenplay is mostly missing and direction may seem casual, but the fable has a better look than the average muscleman epic and its fantastic quality is not altogether spurious.
  • ULYSSES AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES is not an easy Peplum to review. It does stand out from the endless batch of Italian action films starring beefy actors. ULYSSES AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES has a definitely different tone to it though, a more French feel to it than most Sword & Sandal films. There's a lot of action and there are monsters and weird creatures and such. You know, typical Peplum ingredients but the film is very wordy. It relies a lot on dialogue and word play between the characters, which is typically French. Also the actor who plays Ulysses, French actor Georges Marchal, is unmistakably French looking. These differences actually makes this one stand-out from the rest of the pack.

    But even with these original aspects, is it great? Well, good but not great (maybe with a better DVD transfer, it would fall into the great category). It IS very entertaining, rarely boring and sorta admirable that these guys did try to do something different but the whole package is most definitely uneven.

    The story is about Heracles(played by 6'8" tall Mike Lane) trying to bring Ulysses to justice, for some actions which took place before the film began. At one point, Heracles has Ulysses "handcuffed" to him and the two men go through their journey bound together, like in THE DEFIANT ONES.

    There are some moments which are thrilling unto themselves but there are a lot cheesy ones too. The stand out "bizarre" scene here is a dance number (what's with Sword & Sandal films and kooky dance sequences?) where the two heroes, tied to a tree, are being terrorized by an army of effeminate looking men who are dressed up as birds and do these peculiar dance moves. Imagine those scary flying monkeys in THE WIZARD OF OZ grouped together and they start dancing like they're in a Buster Berkley number and they try to kill the beefy heroes by pecking and scratching them to death. The dance sequence is out of this world bizarre. One has to see it to believe it. It's so bizarre that I love it.

    There are other stand-out scenes but nothing beats that one. As I already mentioned, some fighting scenes are pretty good. For instance, the one at the climax between Marchal and exploitation great Gabriele Tinti is remarkably effective. The one on the boats is also good (the special effects are obvious though). There's also a fairly suspenseful "walls coming down to crush the hero" bit. But even with all the action, the story relies more on dialogue than action. Some of the dialogue is pretty bad, certainly during love scenes. The two heroes trying to woe that beautiful but out-of-place playboy bunny Bird Woman; the romance scenes on a whole are embarrassing, including the one when Heracles and Ulysses talk about love. But other bits of dialogue are actually clever and even thought provoking (a Peplum that's thought provoking?). The battle of wits between Ulysses and King Laro is truly memorable and fun.

    The production values are not the greatest. The makeup fx of the cavemen is pretty bad. There are only a few sets. The set for King Laro, with that huge face behind Laro's throne, is memorable. The continuity is filled with errors, but this might be due to US distributors editing the original version for US audiences. The direction sometimes creates suspense and tension, which is no mean feat considering we're talking about a Peplum here. The score is good. Another plus is Georges Marchal as Ulysses. I really like Marchal as an actor. He's one of the best actors to play a mythical hero and has a truly striking presence.

    Like I said, not an easy film to review, ULYSSES AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES is different than the usual Sword & Sandal stuff and I appreciated it for its many original aspects. Personally speaking, even with all of its obvious faults, at a certain level, I find this much more satisfactory than the much heralded COLOSSUS OF RHODES. It's worth watching.
  • Rainey-Dawn21 January 2017
    Well there are a few well done scenes I will grant you, the story is a bit entertaining, acting is fine, costumes standard - overall an okay film. Not my favorite Hercules film but a little entertaining.

    Ulysses/Ulisse has angered the gods, mainly Zeus/Jupiter, by binding the Cyclops. Hercules / Ercole is sent out to find Ulysses and bring him back for justice. Birdmen capture Herc and give him a time, he gets free and continues his search. King Lagos enters the picture and allies Ulysses, although they were once enemies. Herc comes to the rescue and saves Ulysses and it ends with a prayer to Jupiter/Zeus.

    Not the best peplum of the 1960s I've seen, but not the worst.

    3/10
  • Hilarious mythological fantasy movie which is helped a lot by the excellent performance of Georges Marchal as Ulysses, the rare case of a good actor in the genre of muscles and blank expressions. Ulysses is chased by his enemy Heracles (Mike Lane) after he sank his ship, but once they spend a night captured together to become food for a vulture god, they have plenty of time to talk to each other, realize that they are not so different after all and decide to face more adventures together, fighting an evil king of ugly Neanderthal men. The movie may border on the ridiculous with the dancing bird-men for example, but it is really enjoyable. Director Caiano manages to get me on the edge of my seat with scenes like the stone platform slowly coming down towards Ulysses to crush him (or not). Mario Caiano went on to make more watchable genre flicks like "Erik the Viking" with Giuliano Gemma or "Two Gladiators" with Richard Harrison.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Ulysses, besieger of Troy, has angered the Gods with his heroics. They send Hercules (or Heracles, Son of Hercules in this American version!) to capture him! But the two fall in as friendly adversaries amidst bird people, troglodytes, and various intrigues. The bird people are creepy, dancing around and squawking in their desert/jungle wonderland. The troglodytes are the monstrous servants of a mad underground king, who holds court in a cavern bedecked with psychedelic frescoes and keeps a drugged up surface woman chained to his throne.

    If that sounds enticing, then I recommend you follow through and watch this movie!

    Hercules and Ulysses play off each other well. Ulysses is the smart, cunning commander, while Hercules is the proud strongman, but neither of them suffer for the other's virtues.

    This is a rollicking film with plenty of action and a sense of humor that never falls into parody. As with the other Embassy releases, a goofy theme song has been added to make this a "Sons of Hercules" adventure.

    Heracles: "I refuse to be sacrificed to a sacred vulture!"
  • Jupiter sends Heracles (yes thats right, its not Hercules) to get Ulysses and bring him to the cyclops for his little blinding trick. Its an odd film as what should be the adventures or two heroes are enemies for most of it. Somewhere along the lines they get captured by bird people and find their lady loves. The first 45 minutes constitute a pretty good, if cheaply made, adventure film. Unfortunately the second half spirals and then plummets into Mystery Science Theater 3000 territory as all sense is lost and technical errors, for example rock walls that ripple like cloth or hands appearing in empty holes, begin to over take any hope that the makers knew what they were doing. If you like off beat adventure films try the first half of this...I can't promise anything about the second.