From the fertile imagination which brought you the irresistible HERCULES (1983), comes its even more preposterous (read goofier) sequel: right off the bat, we get another unwieldy "beginning of time" prologue which even contrives to completely contradict these same events as set up in the first film!; a condensed montage of highlights from same is soon followed by a SUPERMAN-like scrolling credits sequence. Narrative-wise, here we have four rebellious gods who steal Zeus' seven all-important (but poorly animated) thunderbolts – a crime which, for one thing, sets the moon careening on a collision course with Planet Earth! Faster than you can say "nepotism", Zeus (once again played as a white-haired bearded man by the relatively young Claudio Cassinelli) sends his champion – who has now rightfully taken his place among the elite thanks to, one presumes, the almighty tasks performed in the first film – to find his blooming thunderbolts and avert the calamities in store.
No sooner has Hercules (Lou Ferrigno – as if you didn't know) touched the earthly surface that he comes in contact with two attractive damsels (Milly Carlucci and Sonia Viviani) in need of his getting them out of distress!; the former (who would go on to become an Italian TV personality) seemingly has the ability to talk with the Little People(!) – which look uncannily like the tiny sisters from GODZILLA VS. MOTHRA (1964)!! Just so they can swindle as much unutilzed footage from the first film as is humanly possible, the divine quartet of villains resurrect good ol' King Minos (William Berger again) from his skeletal slumber and pit him once more against his eternal enemy. Typically, Hercules is made to encounter a number of potentially deadly foes including a Gorgon – an awfully underproduced sequence which ought to have led to a surefire plagiarism suit had the film-makers behind the much superior CLASH OF THE TITANS (1981) bothered to watch this flick (complete with the same "reflection in a shield" come-uppance and preceded by the muscleman letting the audience in on his tactics before executing them as if to show us how clever he is)!! And just to make it crystal clear that he wears his influences on his sleeve, Cozzi has Hercules and Minos turn into a cosmic version of "King Kong vs. Godzilla" for one of their battles and later still, Hercules gets to grips with a large snake, an encounter lifted straight out of the classic 1933 original. I swear it: this is the whole truth and nothing but the truth!
As had been the case with the first film, the cast is full of old reliables like the afore-mentioned Berger, Cassinelli and Venantino Venantini (as a sorcerer with a truly bad hair day) and up-and-coming starlets – not just Carlucci but also Maria Rosaria Omaggio (as a younger Hera!), Serena Grandi, Pamela Prati and, once again, Eva Robbins (whose costume here easily outcamps her appearance in the first film); for what it's worth, Pino Donaggio's score for this one is recycled from musical cues featured in his soundtrack for the previous film. If you have stuck with this review so far, you must have realized by now that this is one of those movies that is so unbelievably bad that a reviewer is forced to choose which course to take: either dismiss it in one unflattering sentence or spend an undeserving amount of time dissecting its flaws. I'm sure I've left out some of its ineptitudes but I wouldn't forgive myself if I failed to mention the single greatest laugh-out loud instance in the whole movie which almost made me fall off my chair (yes, it even surpassed the afore-mentioned animated titanic duel for me), namely the décor of the rebellious gods' lair which is in the shape of a giant marble
At this stage, one might well wonder why I gave this film (and its predecessor) a rating instead of a (not entirely unjustified) BOMB; in the past, I've had various protracted online discussions on whether one's star rating of any particular film should reflect the overall artistic quality or its sheer entertainment value
but these are two instances where I deemed it necessary to be consciously influenced by the latter in settling on my final rating. I don't know: maybe it's because I'm in a "sword-and-sandal" state-of-mind at the moment (with some 10 more respectable examples scheduled for the coming days!) but, after all, uncharacteristically for me, I decided to add these two films to my DVD collection simply based on the fun I had with them in this recent revisit – and that alone must count for something, no?
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