Hellboy Movie Review
“Hellboy” is another reckless reboot that nobody had asked for and was not handled with much care. Based the dark comics “Hellboy”, this ground has been previously trod by director Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman (as Hellboy). With del Toro’s flair for visual style and Perlman’s knack for tough guys with a heart of gold, it did not seem that there would be any more areas for growth.
But of course, that never did stop Hollywood from cranking up the old Reboot Machine to start the whole mess over again. Because you can’t go wrong with a movie that includes a Demon child, an undead sorceress, fairies, giants, King Arthur, Merlin, Excalibur, Nazis, Rasputin, giant human-warthog hybrids, Mexican Lucha libre, seers, secret societies, Alice in Wonderland, a man who can turn into a jaguar, Baba Yaga and Lobster Johnson. You can’t go wrong with all that, right? Well, maybe so…
Hellboy (David Harbour) is a spawn of the devil and was brought to Earth years ago. He was raised by Professor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane) who now leads a group called the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.). This group hunts down odd creatures who invade the Earth from time to time. Hellboy is sent down to Mexico to find an agent who has gone missing. He finds the agent who is now working as a Lucha libre wrestler. There is darkness coming, and the end – says the agent in his last dying words.
Hellboy is next sent by Bruttenholm to England, to help a secret society take out a band of Giants. They explain that an ancient undead sorceress named Nimue the Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich) is sending her minions out to resurrect her. The members of the secret society want to ambush Hellboy. The Giants beat them to the punch, and all of them are dead – except for Hellboy. He finds himself saved by Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane) who knew him from way back. He saved her from being kidnapped by fairies at a young age.
Hellboy is joined by Alice and a special British M-11 agent named Major Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim). They need to locate Nimue before she can bring about the end of the world. Alice has special psychic abilities, and Daimio can turn into a were-jaguar. So, they have a great team going. Nimue is using human-warthog to do her bidding and she is gaining strength. She will be able to take over the world, and she wants a huge Demon spawn to be her king. Are you interested, Hellboy? Once that Hellboy learns of his heritage going back to King Arthur, he is offered the Sword Excalibur. But if he takes it, he will be the one to bring ruin to the world.
But will Hellboy give in to the wishes of the Nimue the Blood Queen? Will Professor Bruttenholm, Alice and Major Daimio survive the onslaught of the newly freed minions of Nimue? Will you be able to handle the curse words and the buckets of digital blood sprayed over the screen? Will the number of red herrings and loose ends drive you crazy? Will the clunky dialog land easy on your ears, or be a bombastic buzzsaw of clichés? Will the movie make any sense at all, or will it be overwhelmed by the superior versions that have come before? You can decide…
This movie is attempting to make a new version of Hellboy, one that is darker and more bloody and vicious. Yet the story does not hold together very well, and the dialogue might be cursed in the same way as the evil monsters. It is bad, but not ‘so Bad it is Good’. Ever since Deadpool showed that is was possible to have an R-rated comic book anti-hero that rocks the box office, Hellboy thinks it can follow the same path.
David Harbour does an adequate job as Hellboy, but he is just too nice to be so nasty. Ian McShane is terrific as the Professor, and he kills it. Thomas Haden Church has mostly a cameo role in this movie, and he might have been a superior Hellboy – if he had the role. The direction is good in the action and fight sequences, but elsewhere is tends to drag. Most of that is due to the off-kilter writing and the extended story lines, because there are multiple ones.
“Hellboy” needed a reboot the same way that an electric car needs an oil change. But with an oil change, you don’t get all the violence and bloodshed. Unless you have a very unusual mechanic…
Directed by: Neil Marshall
Screenplay by: Andrew Cosby
Based on: "Hellboy" (by Mike Mignola)
Starring: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim, Thomas Haden Church
Length: 120 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence and gore throughout, and language
Genre: Comic Book Action