You want to go to hell? Then just watch Hellboy. That’s probably a bit harsh; although you certainly won’t get those two hours – which can definitely be better spent – back.
From the pages of Mike Mignola’s seminal work, the legendary half-demon superhero Hellboy (David Harbour) travels England to battle a trio of rampaging giants. There he discovers The Blood Queen, Nimue (Milla Jovovich), a resurrected sorceress thirsting to avenge a past betrayal. Caught in a clash between the supernatural and the human, Hellboy has to stop Nimue without triggering the end of the world. Along the way, he also deals with daddy issues (Ian McShane plays Professor Broom), which are integral to who he is.
Mignola and Andrew Cosby collaborated on the script, which they loosely based on the comic book anthology Hellboy, Volume 9: The Wild Hunt. Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers) directs.
This is an irreverent special-effects movie, which employs the well-worn Hollywood adage that “more is more”. But I beg to differ. The words “know when to stop” come to mind. Yes, the effects are impressive, but the storyline is convoluted and keeps pouring tripe on top of tripe. And then there’s the excessive violence.
I didn’t find any of this remotely plausible, even if it’s true to its comic book roots. And two hours later, of course the filmmakers point to a sequel.
Who will be impressed? Perhaps young men who have way too much time on their hands. I say spend more time on a narrative arc that you can follow. You’d have a better film. Fifteen years ago, Guillermo del Toro showed us how it could be done, with the original Hellboy. Why bother to make an inferior remake?
Director: Neil Marshall
Cast: David Harbour, Ian McShane, Milla Jovovich
Release Date: 11 April 2019
Rating: R 18+
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Alex First is a Melbourne based journalist and communications specialist. He contributes to The Blurb on film and theatre.