‘Hellboy’ review: Guts, gore and very little glory

David Harbour in an image from ‘Hellboy’.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The question has been asked before, why remake something that has not only worked but actually soared? In Hellboy’s case, what should have been a third film in the franchise became a reboot. After monster man Guillermo del Toro (who wrote and directed the 2004 and 2008 films) dropped out of the project, and Ron Perlman who played the original big red guy, followed suit.

Director Neil Marshall promised a darker take on the series with David Harbour bulking up to play the crimson demon from hell. While the 2019 version pales in comparison to its predecessors, Marshall attempts a round-the-bush approach to what is yet another origin story. Hellboy, along with his adopted father, the brash professor Trevor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane) work at the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense in America. When the Blood Queen Nimue (Milla Jovovich) rises again to unleash her horror on the world, Hellboy must save the day. Along the way, he learns his birth story and the prophecy: he’s the harbinger of the Apocalypse.

  • Director: Neil Marshall
  • Cast: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim, Thomas Haden Church
  • Storyline: When Blood Queen Nimue ( Milla Jovovich) returns to rule over the world, Hellboy must destroy her and save the day.

Andrew Cosby’s screenplay is oppressively scattered with a blunted focus on the original series’ premise: having Hellboy choose his own fate. In a bid to craft some distinction, Marshall goes all out with the gore. At the get go, the film kicks things off between Hellboy and a vampire disguised like a luchador (Mexican wrestler). Monsters impale humans wearing them like insects stuck to soles. Hellboy ruthlessly dismembers ugly giants. The list is pretty long and equally fun. But the Indian censor board denies the audience the full impact of this pleasure with plenty of snipping and chopping. Nevertheless, the film revels in blood, guts, entrails and a huge body count.

Harbour’s interpretation of Hellboy — a grumpy foul-mouthed teenager trapped in an adult demon’s body — is fleetingly endearing but thoroughly enjoyable. And no mention of the rest of the cast is all the mention they need. Thanks to an adrenaline-pumping metal score, Hellboy just about falls short of boring. The film’s run time, stretching to two hours, could seriously have been more economic.

Hellboy is a strange sometimes comic journey filled with excessive carnage. It’s no cinematic marvel but it’s still a fun ride.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2021 1:43:56 PM |

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