Hellboy - The Movie Does Not Bloody Rock
Dir: Neil Marshall
Starring David Harbour, Ian McShane, Milla Jovovich, Sasha Lane, Daniel Dae Kim, Stephen Graham, Sophie Okonodo, Thomas Haden Church
After his work on Dog Soldiers, The Descent and some of the more impressive GOTs, Neil Marshall felt like a natural fit for Hellboy. Interesting then, that on the day the movie is released more or less worldwide, news emerges of in-production clashes, producers out-ruling their director, actors making up their own dialogue as any sense of overriding control was rapidly lost, with Marshall finally being denied final cut. And guess what? – It’s all up there on the screen, because the new Hellboy is a bloody mess (in every sense of the word “bloody.”)
Going hard-R, again, should have been a good fit for Mike Mignola’s devil spawn creation, but the reality is all it adds are a whole bunch of gruesome decapitations and a whole bunch of fucks. Long gone is the lyrical subtlety and heroic brio of Del Toro’s previous two takes on the source material. Instead we have David Harbour (not bad, but not Ron Perlman), Ian McShane (a welcome addition though underused as his father figure), Milla Jovovich as the Blood Queen – and a story that moves from one convolution to another. Put it this way – by the time we discover Hellboy is some sort of descendent of King Arthur– well, you’re likely to have lost interest by then.
And don’t get us started on the numerous voiced-over expositional flashbacks! By the time they get to the third (or was it the fourth?) one, you really suspect this is deliberately being self-parodic, although it’s more likely something that has happened by accident. Which is reflected in the movie’s approach to humour in general. The all-new Hellboy wants to be a funny movie (it wants to be a lot of things!) – to say that about 95% of the gags fall flat is to be kind. Seriously, Stephen Grahem as a Liverpudlian devil pig?? What were they thinking?
At its best, some of the design of the movie impresses in its dark ghoulishness. But outside of that, Hellboy is the first major disaster of the year.
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