Hercules Unchained (Italy 1959)

Rating: *
Review Date: 7/1/19
Cast: Steve Reeves, Sylva Koscina, Sylvia Lopez

"Youngsters today think only of girls."

Hercules (Steve Reeves) and his bride Iole (Sylva Koscina) return to Thebes, which is suffering from a power struggle between to insane brothers who wish to rule the city. Hercules vows to resolve the matter, but foolishly drinks from the Fountain Of Forgetfulness and allows himself to be seduced by the sinister Queen Omphale (Sylvia Lopez). When Ulysses and the crew of the Argo finally manage to rescue him, Thebes is at war and Iole has been thrown into prison. Furious at this turn of events, he leads the Theban people to victory and saves his wife from being raped by the opposing forces.

With the wild success of "Hercules" (1958), it's no surprise that they would crank out a sequel as quickly as possible. It's also no surprise that it's really terrible. Steve Reeves is disappointingly stiff and wooden this time around, and comes across as a big, dumb meathead rather than a charming rogue. The entire first hour is painful to watch as the outrageously slutty Sylvia Lopez has her way with Hercules and makes plans to add him to her gruesome collection of token lovers. Sadly, Ms. Lopez died from leukemia shortly after making the film. The action finally kicks in during the last half hour, but by then it's too late to care. The humor is lame and distasteful, and mostly in the hands of the annoying Ulysses. Sylva Koscina is lovely, but has precious little to do and is absent for the majority of the film. The tiger fight is especially bad, and the only brawl that Hercules engages in happens in the first ten minutes of the film. Pretty disappointing in all regards.