To start this review off the 3 films contained in this set are completely rubbish in every way. However they are different levels of crap and the set goes through a few of those. They are all knock-offs made in Italy which in the case of the Hercules films combine aspects of Star Wars with the sword and sandals genre. Sinbad of the Seven Seas is an embarrassing attempt to recapture some of the “magic” of the then recent The Princess Bride but through a Sinbad tale.
Hercules and The Adventures of Hercules are the best films in the collection more down to how barking mad they are if anything. Like every film ever made about Hercules it doesn’t follow his own mythos which are so rich and layered in action and adventure that it’s a crime nobody has done the possibly herculean task of translating them onto the big screen faithfully. These “adaptations” of the myths are probably the most unfaithful take of them.
It does have passing references to Hercules’ 12 labours and actually in the first film astonishingly includes his cleaning of the Augean Stables. However the main plot deals with Hercules having to fight a wizard named after Minos (but no relation to the mythological character) who wants to take over the world with SCIENCE! He of course has to save a princess as well and the gods live up in space instead of Mount Olympus.
The film’s real charms come through the horrendous special effects that prevalent from the first frame to the very last. Hercules has to fight a mechanical hydra which has 3 heads not the more common 9. The film’s highlight comes in the legendary scene where Hercules literally throws a bear into outer-space which really needs to be seen to be believed. The special effects are so Z-Grade which would have looked out of date in the ’50s never-mind the early ’80s. Lou Ferrigno is dubbed as is pretty much every other cast member.
The sequel The Adventures of Hercules is more of the same so much so the first 10 minutes or so are literally reruns of the scenes from the first film to pad out the films’ already slim running time of a grand total of 88 minutes. Minos has been resurrected by rogue gods who want Hercules defeated. Hercules must find his papa Zeus’ 7 lightning bolts to save humanity and give Zeus’ back his power.
The film’s highlight this time comes in the guise of a horrible 2D animation where Hercules literally turns into a giant gorilla who fights Minos who is now a dinosaur in space of course. Zeus also turns Hercules into such a giant who can move a moon and earth apart which weirdly enough is inspired by the pillars of Hercules. It’s even worst than the first one and it lacks some of the stop motion charm of the mechanical hydra in the first film.
Sinbad of the Seven Seas however is complete and utter rubbish from the start where it proudly proclaims its inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s Sinbad the sailor story to it’s closing moments. It’s clearly trying to be a Z-Budget version of The Princess Bride which a bit of Ray Harryhausen’s Sinbad films thrown in. Everyone is dubbed and the dubbing is even more noticeably worst than the Hercules films if that’s possible but maybe due to poor boredom I noticed the dubbing more.