Hercules in New York is one of the legendarily awful movies ever! If ever a movie defined the notion that a movie could be so bad it's good, it's this one. The incompetence is not such that you lose the plot thread (such as there is) or cannot hear the "dialogue", or some other technical blunder. It's a movie that seems to have enough professionals involved that it functions as a movie in the traditional way, but it's lead by an actor so grossly horrible that it's stunning to watch other, competent actors try and hold their scenes with him.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has become a cultural icon in American life, with an eventually successful film career, a successful sports career, a successful political career, and a titillating hobby of carousing which might make Errol Flynn blush. He's an old man now, to some degree broken in the box office and in the popular imagination, but this movie finds him in the flower of his youth, smooth skinned, muscled, and stranded on screen with a perpetual dim-witted glower on his gap-toothed mug.
|(Movie poster is bogus and features Godzilla.)|
The movie has the great virtue of having been actually filmed in New York, capturing the NYC of 1969 in its often grimy glory. This is definitely a low-rent affair, and the props and settings are the real world of New York, which has a distinct lived-in appearance. The climatic chase scene is a hopelessly edited rumble through some iconic and some quite grubby parts of the city.
|(Book appears in movie-probably was research.)|
One thing that comes through in this for me is the sheer unlikeable nature of Arnold, who plays a pig-headed egotist and seems all to suited to the role. But it's unfair to blame him for this disaster. It's a movie meant to feast on his powerful frame, and it does so repeatedly.
Hercules in New York is a truly terrible movie, but is such a lame exercise that it's still interesting to watch, if only in a clinical fashion. I offer up as evidence the legendary bear scene. Take a look.