Director: Neill Marshall
Starring: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim, Thomas Haden Church
Hellboy is back!
Because…well…erm…he is…? Guillermo del Toro’s two Hellboy movies were pretty successful affairs and gained a sizeable following – and had garnered protracted calls for a third movie from himself and original Hellboy, Ron Perlman. Alas, Lionsgate had other ideas and decided to reboot the series for no apparent reason. Gone is Ron, del Toro is no more…o, and in is David Harbour (of Stranger Things fame) and UK horror head Neil Marshall to direct. In this golden age of comic book movies, surely this new Hellboy would be at least decent and successful?
Wrong. It would be neither.
It seems Marshall was aiming for something violently gritty and edgy and ended up with a mess. A drawn out mess. Where del Toro brought a cinematic flair and a je ne sais quoi to his movies, this version is just a 15-rated The Kid Who Would Be King – complete with King Arthur (…again) and a mystical blood queen of death waiting in the underworld to take over the WORLD! (insert evil laugh here). Not just that, it’s an inferior version. Lots of body-splitting gore, bloodshed and ‘hilarious’ curse words don’t make a movie edgy or good – just a bit try-hard. There’s a Scouse pig that literally just shouts “fookin’ BASTID!” at everyone and anything and some of Britain’s finest (…ahem) soap actors taking the screen to deliver soap opera performances. Even the attempt to go all Silent Hill at the end falls short because everything else before it is terrible. Factor in the attempts to create a del Toro-esque world without any of the nuance and Hellboy is just a violent failure.
David Harbour was…fine in the lead role? He seemed to be enjoying himself at the very least. Milla Jovovich was appealing enough and Sasha Lane sported a ridiculous British accent (complete with every colloquial English word you can imagine thrown in) and Ian McShane broods a lot. Nobody stands out and it’s almost as if they don’t want to, lest there enthusiasm bring about a sequel. The visual FX were underpar and the rock music soundtrack was probably one of the only things that seemed to stick with what was happening on screen. The dialogue was awful and, again, the story was a convoluted, drawn-out mess. Apparently, Neil Marshall didn’t retain final cut of the movie, which is strange, but maybe for the better as it soothes my confusion at how the director of The Descent (and Dog Soldiers) could peddle out this nonsense.
In this golden age of comic book movies, Hellboy is clearly the fall guy. The one that tries to jump on others success yet falls horribly short in its ambition and execution. There really isn’t anything good to be had from this and I would be happy to never have to think about it again. Some movies are just so naff that analysis and deep dives are useless – Hellboy is just a furious disappointment, whether you thought this movie was warranted or not.
Hellboy? More like OH BOY! As in, OH BOY THIS MOVIE IS AWFUL.
May 7th 2019