Let’s make this quick. Which, was the exact opposite of my movie going experience with Neil Marshall’s “Hellboy”. You know that’s harsh. Let us not put the entire blame on Marshall as I hear it was an all-out mess of a film-making process starting way back in the beginning of production for this film.
I’m such a believer in Comic book/ superhero films and really come to their defense but, when it turns in a steaming pile of no effort like with this movie; its indefensible. I felt disrespected. You may ask, “who are you, that this film would care what you think?” I would reply, “A ticket buying consumer and audience member.” That’s who! And, that’s my right to express why I care.
This would be the perfect movie demons in Hell would torture you to watch for all eternity. I’m surprised that didn’t end up in the script as the orifices of hell opened up all over London. If only it were a possibility for the movie to be swallowed up inside of itself like a cinematic black hole.
Based on the graphic novel, this adaptation, not directed by Guillermo Del Toro is the story of Hellboy who is caught up in a medieval turf war between an ancient sorceress and the hundreds of races of supernatural creatures and the descendants of King Arthur and all of mankind on earth.
Yeah, that King Arthur.
David Harbour tries his best to redeem this imposter Hellboy, but stumbles right out of the gate. Before we even get going we hear a half-assed Ian McShane prologue that plays like a bad movie trailer inside of a movie setting the stage for a world we care nothing about.
Yeah, that Ian McShane. And yeah, in this movie.
You see how bad that sentence was in this review. Try hearing it less than 30 seconds into this movie. The direction in this film was some of the worst I’ve seen in quite a while. This film is crippled with bad choices. Bad direction choices, script choices and subsequently acting choices.
Our hero starts his journey in search for his agent whoever friend. Keep in mind our hero, if you really want to call him that, is a hulking red monster with shaved horns and a statue on his right arm just casually walking around the streets in South America looking for someone who the film wants us to care abbot, but spends no effort actually doing that. So much so, Hellboy finds his supposed friend who has been bitten by a coven of Vampires and participating in Luchador Wrestling and challenges him to a fight and then accidentally impales through a post in the wrestling ring.
The movie continues to introduce us to and kill soon after we meet them, several characters that spend no time earning our favor to create stakes to propel the story.
Hellboy is in sorrow and then eventually makes it back home to the BRPD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense). It’s frustrating the way he’s so cavalier about his existence to the outside world you never know where he stands in relation to anything. This movie’s tone is all over the place and you feel it in every sequence. Is the world aware of Hellboy? He’s on the news? Are we just going to pretend like he wasn’t on the news or found black out drunk at a bar in South America? What’s going on?
This film plays out more like a 3rd installment to an existing franchise rather than the reboot it proports to be.
While working in London to lend a helping hand to un-aged Knights of the Round Table hunt down giants, a Pig Demon has an axe to grind against Hellboy and works with Baba Yaga to raise an all-powerful Blood Queen back to life with the hopes of being rewarded with the power to defeat him.
On paper I can see how this could be a fun way to approach this story. But, when written poorly, shot jerky, performed dully and edited so bad your neck hurts from constantly shaking your head in disappointment everything about what’s happening in from you plays out like the train wreck it is.
You see everything coming from a mile away. The exposition you need to make scenes and introductions to characters work is improperly placed. Our titular hero is written like a bad impression of “Deadpool” and instead of breaking the fourth wall he’s breaking our hearts. David Harbour is a more than capable actor who’s been paying his dues for a while now in Hollywood. He’s got the build, the stature, and even the voice that grows on you after a little while. But, his characterization is all surface. The script does nothing to humanize him. The supporting characters don’t help at all either. Alice (Sasha Lane) is supposed to be our emotional connection to Hellboy to bring out a fatherly love in him. We spend too much time in the movie with her character before we actually learn what their connection is and the way its shot your too distracted to care at all. The production is much more interested in the shock value of having Alice’s powers manifest into a vomit educing spiritual flesh sack projecting from her mouth than clear character goals.
Everyone is supposed to assume they know what’s going on instead of experience it with the audience in an organic way.
There’s a 2-hour film in front us that’s packing in so much visual and audible noise and transgressing so much space and time its literally littered with almost a dozen title cards just, so you know where you are. I will say, outside of all the unenjoyable fluff going on there’s some really cool practical effects being utilized particularly with the Baba Yaga. The adaptation of the Russian Folklore is some of the best I’ve seen on screen. However, the execution lets it down and you forget all about her house that walks through forests on chicken legs and the hanging child corpses in her kitchen because of the irrelevant fight scene that ensues.
The entire approach to this film had to be a series of checklists of really cool shit that can be done on screen because of money and technology and no care for anything else. Mila Jovovich’s delivery of every line of dialogue with her portrayal of the Blood Queen Nimue, screams the doldrums of the comic book movies that came out in the early and mid-90’s; where decent acting was a luxury and not of importance as long as the direction and the effects were good. They couldn’t even get that right as most if not all the digital effects in this film look under-rendered and amateurish.
So, to my "Bad Movie" Check list,
BAD ACTING, for the most part.
BAD VFX, BAD SOUNDTRACK... ... ...
Hellboy is a loud, uninteresting, and un-entertaining mess of a film. Its problematic script and production are an example of bad film-making at its finest and will bring about the undeserving death of this underrated comic book character who will never get a big screen chance again.
KOLBYTOLDME RATING- 3/10
Directors: I guess, Neil Marshall
Writer: Andrew Cosby
Starring: David Harbour, Millla Jovovich, Ian McShane
Run Time: 120 mins