Odysseus, the hero of Homer's epic poem, is a character known for his intelligence and cunning, qualities not conveyed by star Armand Assante in this tacky made-for-television adaptation. His stiff performance is the film's greatest flaw, but far from its only one. Sailing the seas toward Ithaca, Assante encounters all the expected dangers and detours, including Bernadette Peters as a shrill Circe and Vanessa Williams as Calypso, who commands a squad of athletic nymphs like a drill sergeant. The late-'80s-MTV-style special effects are bad enough, the liberal translation even worse (the expression is "caught between Scylla and Charybdis" for a reason), but it's spending two and a half hours with Assante, who plays his character as an alternately grunting and bellowing dullard, that makes The Odyssey really unbearable. As long as they were making a medium-budget camp-fest—and with a leering, prancing, gold-painted Hermes, they pretty much had to know they were—they could just as easily have traded in their Assante for a Sorbo, or even a Lundgren.
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