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  Adventures of Hercules, The Zeus On The LooseBuy this film here.
Year: 1985
Director: Luigi Cozzi
Stars: Lou Ferrigno, Milly Carlucci, Sonia Viviani, William Berger, Carla Ferrigno, Claudio Cassinelli, Ferdinando Poggi, Venantino Venantini, Laura Lenzi, Margit Evelyn Newton, Cindy Leadbetter, Raf Baldassarre, Serena Grandi, Eva Robins, Sandra Venturini
Genre: Fantasy, Adventure
Rating:  4 (from 2 votes)
Review: Long centuries ago, Hercules (Lou Ferrigno) was created by the ruler of the Gods, Zeus (Claudio Cassinelli), and proved himself to be one of the greatest, if not the all time greatest, heroes in history. But after saving the world from the evils of King Minos (William Berger) once, he finds he has to do it again as the evil monarch is resurrected by some scheming Gods who wish to topple Zeus, regaining his magical powers and using them for the forces of chaos once again. And this time the stakes are far higher: in the cosmic upheaval the Moon has been sent out of its orbit and is heading towards Earth!

Except if you look at the special effects creating this momentous occasion, the Moon appears to be headed in the opposite direction to Earth, so perhaps it was taking the long way around. Not to worry, as it was time to reunite with Mr Ferrigno, looking for a new, regular gig after The Incredible Hulk had been cancelled on television, and finding no small degree of ridicule for this pair of shoddy entertainments. They were a production of Cannon Films, that notorious Eighties company which rarely met a budget that they did not feel they could economise on, and so it was with this Luigi Cozzi directed sequel, which was up to his usual standard.

You'll notice right away that they haven't exactly pushed the boat out when the first eight minutes does not consist of kicking off the story, but a credits sequence which blithely recycles the highlights of the previous film. For eight minutes! After that we don't even get introduced to Hercules until a while later, as we have to have the plot set up, and that involves establishing that the Moon is on its way, no matter what our eyes tell us, and that Herc has to track down seven hidden thunderbolts taken from Zeus - they're the source of his power, we learn - and save heaven and earth in the process. What he does not do is save the damsel in distress.

That's clear when that damsel, chained to a sphere, is sacrificed to the id monster from Forbidden Planet of all people. What he was doing there I don't know, but he is apparently some kind of fire creature and as he's about to wreak more havoc by killing the two sisters Urania (Milly Carlucci) and Glaucia (Sonia Viviani), who will be Hercules' guides, something should really be done. Therefore after all this palaver, he arrives on a white steed and is promptly attacked by a bloke wearing a hearth rug, who he makes short work of and is rewarded with his first thunderbolt. Next it's on to meet the girls, who have been taken hostage by the dreaded Slime People, who look a lot like the hairy attacker, only slimier.

You begin to notice a pattern after a while, where the musclebound marauder wanders a cheap location - cave, beach, forest, that type of thing - and bests a monster of some description, including a Clash of the Titans inspired Gorgon, except she's not called that, but she is a stop motion scorpion woman (as opposed to a stop motion snake woman, see? Completely different). The effects, if anything, are even worse in this instalment, with obvious use of videotape for cost-cutting exercises, and much rotoscoped animation which includes the grand finale, where the battling hero and foe turn into a dinosaur and a gorilla respectively to thrash the living daylights out of each other. Naturally, if you're in the right mood this can strike the viewer as hilarious, even more so in that the filmmakers thought they could get away with it. Otherwise, it's a bit dull compared to the outright egregiousness of the first effort. Recycled music by Pino Donaggio.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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Luigi Cozzi  (1947 - )

Italian director of low budget horror, sci-fi and fantasy. Like many of his countrymen, Cozzi was quick to leap on the back of whatever Hollywood films were currently winning at the box office, hence films 'inspired' by Star Wars (Starcrash), Alien (Contamination), Conan (Hercules) and so on. Directed the 1991 Dario Argento documentary Master of Horror, and has worked on several Argento films over the years, including Two Evil Eyes and The Stendhal Syndrome. The pair also co-own the Rome-based movie shop Profondo Rosso.

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