Thursday, 11 April 2019

Hellboy: Film Review

Hellboy: Film Review

Cast: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane
Director: Neil Marshall

For many, Ron Perlman is the definitive Hellboy.

With gruff voice and wearied attitude, his Hellraiser, along with director Guillermo del Toro set the tone for the story of the demon here to protect us all. But that was back in 2004 when the film hit a high, and now 15 years later, there's a new attempt to bring Mike Mignola's comics back to life.

This time, Stranger Things David Harbour is old Red, and Dog Soldiers' director Neil Marshall helps helm the CGI creations as Hellboy tackles an ancient sorceress bent on revenge in the R-rated flick.
Hellboy: Film Review

The road to Hellboy is paved with good intentions.

But unfortunately, this reboot is nothing more than a slightly polished stinker that does nothing for the legacy work created by del Toro.

A CGI creature feature that in parts looks like the bastard son of Jack The Giant Slayer, the creature work is so incredibly cheap-looking that it distracts mightily from what's transpiring on the screen.

Which isn't to say much, because the basic plot and piecemeal sewing together of various scenes in the film feels beyond rote, and borderline dull.

Harbour tries to deliver what he can under the prosthetics, but if you're after subtlety, this ain't it.

All the good character work done by Perlman and del Toro is distilled down and then thrown out, because all Harbour has to work with is what the script writers believe Hellboy is, a series of quips and some petulance, rather than a build up of emotional heft aimed at immersing you in his world, and buying into the torment he feels at his place in the world.

It just doesn't work though throughout, with a Scouser pig creature that's supposed to be Jovovich's character's sidekick feeling like an extra from a bad cartoon movie. Fight scenes aren't much better either, scored as they are to heavy metal tracks and distinctly looking cheap in their execution.

The cheapness affects the feel of the film and the script struggles for any kind of heft; even worse, the world-building feels less fantastical, more rushed, rote and utterly  lazy. There are precisely two good moments in Hellboy, and unfortunately, they come right at the end of the movie as Marshall demonstrates some directorial flair for action sequences, chopping and changing between slow-motion and speeded up ass kicking from Hellboy.

It only serves to show what's been missing in the Hellboy 2019 reboot, a film that chops around all over the place, uses terribly clunky exposition to anchor its hero, and delivers nothing short of a disappointment.

Simply put, Hellboy in its latest incarnation deserves its place in cinematic hell.

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