Full disclosure: this review is coming to you a while after the new Hellboy release, having time to distance myself from the horror that is this film, I can honestly say that not only is it wildly offensive to the original films, but completely forgettable.
What went wrong? Well.. to start, rebooting an incomplete trilogy from a cult favorite director, Guillermo Del Toro, while still trying to cash in on his visual directing in a vastly lower quality scene that was first shown in the original. It’s very clear that director Neil Marshall was asleep at the wheel when it came to the story. In this version, we see a more grumpy, smart-talking Hellboy played by David Harbour, as he is facing demons and perils that involve vampires, King Arthur, and all the blood and gore that fans of the comics would see as a tribute to the source material. The main villain, played by Milla Jovovich, is completely insignificant and a throwaway character.
Really the only credit that this movie can get would be in David Harbours performance as the horned devil. I, for the most part, was sold on everything he was doing in the film. I liked his chemistry with his surrogate father, played by Ian McShane. The relationship does deviate from Del Toro’s, that being a kind and more grandfather-like relationship to now Ian McShane’s character being a more “tough love” father figure. It was the most interesting part of the story but again, that isn’t saying too much.
As far as VFX goes as well as their choice of using prosthetics on David Harbour. Well, just look at him.
Frightening yes? But not in the way they were going for. I am amazed at how much acting Harbour was able to push out of that face-suit, there are other attempts at practical effects that compared again to the original, are tv-quality. As well the blood, gore, and violence while they make sure are plentiful, serve no purpose to the characters or the plot, it’s numbing and at some points purposefully put there just to make the viewer test their gag reflexes while choking down as much popcorn as possible in order to forget what they just witnessed.
In the end, ‘Hellboy’ is not a property that had any right to exist without Del Toro and Ron Perlman at the helm. It tries so hard to come off as edgy and hardcore, but mistakes what made the first two films cult classics in the first place.
Hellboy gets a 2/10