Wednesday, 30 October 2013
Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon (1964)
Hercules and the Tyrants of Babylon has a lot of moving parts. There are a trio of villains who work together but also vie for dominance amongst their troika, scheming and double-dealing among themselves and with others. There is also a fourth villain whose rivalry with the primary troika means he is Herc's ally until his sudden and inevitable betrayal. And there's an extended "I am Spartacus" sequence with a group of female captives, as the villains attempt to determine who among them is secretly their queen. Just in case that's wasn't enough, said queen also happens to be Herc's lover. An uncharitable viewer might think that all these shenanigans were an attempt to minimise Herc's role in the film, since he is a bit crap. And I guess I am that viewer.
Hercules in played by "Rock Stevens", the manliest of manly stage names for Peter Lupus, who would go on to minor stardom as Willy Armitage in the original Mission: Impossible series. I suspect he worked better in that show than he did in this, since there he was a member of a team (specifically, the muscle) rather than having to shoulder the burden of the lead role.
In any case, all the extra-curricular activities of the plot aside, this is an unambitious, by the numbers sword-and-sandal film. It can't even muster up the enthusiasm for an ill-conceived monster costume. And what is a Hercules film without a monster fight?
This is also one of four consecutive Hercules films in my "Sci Fi Classics" box set. So I'm going to be watching a lot of this sort of stuff for a while. Here's hoping that the others have more to recommend them.