As a fan of Neil Marshall’s work, I was stoked for his latest vision in Hellboy. Hellboy is based on the graphic novels by Mike Mignola, first made into films by the visionary director, Guillermo del Toro in 2004 and 2008. Those starred Ron Pearlman as the title character. Why del Toro did not return is all speculation but Marshall seemed to be a great replacement. He has directed such great films like The Descent, Dog Soldiers and Doomsday. Dark, violent and terrifying they were well made films with structure and discipline. How this version of Hellboy got away from Marshall is beyond me.
Sitting at a pathetic eighteen percent positive review status on Rotten Tomatoes, I thought that there was no way it could be this bad. Not only is eighteen percent justified, it is still too high. Hellboy is a tremendous disaster. Loud, abrasively obnoxious and a lot of sound and fury over nothing, Hellboy takes this franchise and runs it straight into the ground. There is nothing in this film that works. Not even David Harbour as the new Hellboy can save this dreck.
The film opens with exposition about The Blood Queen, Nimue (pronounced Nim-way, not that it makes a bit of difference) (Milla Jovovich) as she battled King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. She brought nothing but plagues, death and destruction to everyone who stood in her path. Arthur tricks her, slicing and dicing her into several parts, locking those parts in different boxes and burying the boxes in separate locations.
Okay, so far so good, I guess. Then Hellboy flies off the rails at top speed and I say this with no joy at all. This is a one-note film that seeks to punish the viewers. Nothing happens except blood curdling violence and gore, which I have no problem with, as long as it fits within the context of the film and has a purpose. In this film, it is purely superfluous and pointless. There is nothing left to the imagination for the viewers. Harbour does what he can with in the title role, but all I did was imagine that Ron Pearlman seemed to have a much better grasp on the humor of Hellboy. Harbour’s comic timing, here, though is way off.
It’s not Harbour’s fault. No one could make this film funny or amusing, at least, not with the script that made the final cut. Andrew Cosby’s script is nonsensical and witless without an ounce of charm or mystery. The performances are weak because the screenplay is childish, moronic and has been dumbed-down, for some inexplicable reason. The previous Hellboy’s have had del Toro’s vivid imagination behind them and it showed onscreen. They were colorful, with compelling stories and interesting performances by everyone. That is not the case in director Marshall’s vision, sadly.
When a film makes you long for the originals, you know you have a turkey on your hands. Hellboy 2019, is overly long, silly, repetitive, offensive garbage. Even the great Ian McShane can’t seem to find his way out of this fast enough. How did this go wrong? Who knows? Who cares? It’s hard to know what to classify this latest Hellboy. Reboot? Sequel? Regardless, I have not been this disappointed in a film of this nature since the last Die Hard debacle and they are making another one of those, currently titled as McClane to cleanse the palate.
As for this Hellboy, it makes Transformers: The Last Knight look like Good Fellas. They need to take a break and leave any future Hellboy films to del Toro. If it means we have to wait, then so be it. Anything beats sitting through another one of these debacles. As for this one, they should do to it what they did to Nimue, chop it up into pieces and bury them in separate locations. As if it were not bad enough, there is one scene midway through the credits and one post credit sequence if you can stand it.
Hellboy 2019 – 1/2 star out of 5
Hellboy 2019 – Rated R for graphic violence, gore and language
Hellboy 2019 – Run time is 121 minutes
If you still insist on seeing this Hellboy, it is now available on DVD, On Demand and subscription services. Check you local listings for pricing and availability.