Title – Hellboy (2019)
Director – Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers)
Cast – David Harbour, Ian McShane, Milla Jovovich, Sophie Okonedo, Daniel Dae Kim, Sasha Lane
Plot – Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense super-employee Hellboy (Harbour) must do everything in his power to stop the recently resurrected Queen of Blood, Vivian Nimue (Jovovich) from destroying the world as we know it.
“I thought we were supposed to be fighting monsters, not working with them”
Review by Eddie on 26/07/2019
With many overcoming the initial sadness of the failed Hellboy 3 that would’ve seen Oscar winning director Guillermo Del Toro re-team with his favourite leading man Ron Perlman for another dose of imagination overload and Barry Manalow’s singalongs, hype began to grow for a very adult take on the cult graphic novel creation that starred Stranger Things breakout star David Harbour and was directed by the man responsible for cult films such as Dog Soldiers and The Descent as well as some of the all-time great Game of Thrones episodes.
Unfortunately for the great big red guy, Harbour and director Neil Marshall, this violence filled and expletive ridden reimagining of Mike Mignola’s creation is one of the great failures of 2019, virtually killing off the chances of future Hellboy installments and halting Harbour’s chances of leading too many more Hollywood films moving forward.
Budgeted at a quite decent $50 million dollars and featuring talented performers such as Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane and Daniel Dae Kim, Hellboy certainly had enough talent surrounding it to be something of note and still maintains slight moments of character charm, creature carnage and possibilities throughout that never help it overcome a feeling that this cold, heartless and rather cheap and nasty feeling film just lacks the soul or energy to do its character and plot justice.
Featuring such random interludes as giant hunting, Nazi era flashbacks, Jovovich’s evil plan for ultimate destruction and bizarrely a resurrected Merlin, Hellboy has a lot of ideas and components going on that Marshall never wrangles together into a cohesive whole and while the capable director knows how to handle an action scene or two, most of Hellboy’s big set-ups and set-pieces take place in a lethargic and enthusiasm free environment that stems mostly out of a bored looking cast, tired and heartless sets, sub-par CGI and over the top violence that feels more forced than natural in the modern age where adult focussed comic book films are a sub-genre unto their own.
Del Toro’s previous Hellboy films all mixed soulful characters and emotionally strong components with fun and wild blockbuster sensibilities, something that this Hellboy lacks in spades.
You feel sorry for Harbour in particular who doesn’t get the best material to work with here thanks to the mediocre script work by Andrew Cosby.
It’s a shame as he feels like a solid choice for the big handed red devil and shows more than a few moments where his natural charisma and presence shines in the film but there’s frighteningly little support around him and as Hellboy’s downright terrible story draws us across the globe in a variety of situations we can’t get invested in, it’s quite clear early on that Marshall’s film had very little chance of matching Del Toro’s take on the figure or enlivening the series enough to make audiences care about ever seeing another big screen Hellboy moving forward.
Final Say –
With a few very minor wins over its run-time and a committed but misused David Harbour at its disposal, this rough and bloody Hellboy isn’t a complete horror story but it’s not a film you’d be recommending loudly in a crowded marketplace filled with far better graphic novel/comic book offerings. Seemingly a sad ending for a character and universe that had a lot more still yet to give.
2 mute monks out of 5