review by Bobby Blakey
In 2004 Guillermo del Toro teamed up with Ron Perlman to bring Mike Mignola’s comic creation Hellboy to the big screen. The film knocked it out of the park and spawned a sequel in 2008 that kept fans wanting more. Sadly it never seemed like we were going to see the character again, but now they are retooling the film series with Stranger Things actor David Harbour in the title role and Dog Soldiers director Neil Marshall at the helm. The film features a great supporting cast including Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Daniel Dae Kim, Sasha Lane and Penelope Mitchell, but can it do the character justice or should they kept him in Hell?
Hellboy follows the legendary half-demon superhero who is called to the English countryside to battle a trio of rampaging giants. There he discovers The Blood Queen, Nimue, a resurrected ancient sorceress thirsting to avenge a past betrayal. Suddenly caught in a clash between the supernatural and the human, Hellboy is now hell-bent on stopping Nimue without triggering the end of the world. While not a massive Hellboy fan I did enjoy the original films most notably the second one Hellboy: The Golden Army. I have never fully followed the comic, but know of the mythology and varying characters so always loved seeing this world come to life. With the new direction I was bummed we weren’t going to get the next Perlman chapter of the series and instead a reboot, but the inclusion of David Harbour taking on the role of Hellboy and director Neil Marshall who directed one of my all-time favorites Dog Soldiers gave me hope.
While I did have a blast with this film it is a mixed bag of great stuff and not so great stuff. There was a lot of people unhappy with Harbour’s look, but seeing him in action in the finished film I loved it. As much as I love Perlman in the role I personally prefer this look and version of him now. The supporting cast were ok with a lot of their moments all over the place. McShane is great as Professor
Broom and shares good chemistry with Harbour. It’s the rest of the cast that struggle, but some is the material. Daniel Dae Kim takes on Major Daimio and does a good job and as cool is the character, but the direction for him could have been so much better had he had more to do. Sadly while I love Jovovich in the Resident Evil films
she just did not work as the villain here for me. The character just felt flat and never fully brings a real danger to the overall story like I felt it should have given her power and plans
I love practical man in suit effects with Gruagach and Bab Yaga, but the CGI is really hit and miss. When it works it is great, but sadly more often than not it just felt fake. We have a high bar now with all the big budget films bringing such amazing CGI to the table so when it comes out like this it is a bit of a letdown in some ways for such a big character. As much as I love them even the man in suit characters come off kind of silly at times, but being ones that are part of the comic mythos make them ones you just have to let happen.
While there are a lot of issues here there is no denying that I had a hell of a time and will no doubt watch it again. There is a pull no punches gore factor that while not overly necessary makes it feel more like the world these people inhabit. They really needed to trim it up a bit as it runs too long and then ends kind of abruptly. There is a great sequence at the end that sets up the what they were hoping would be more adventures with Harbour and he is great in the role, but doesn't look likely. In addition there is a mid-credit scene that is pretty funny and will have hardcore fans of the comic smile ear to ear.
This release not only includes the film but also bonus content including deleted scenes, previsualizations, and a 3 part documentary “Tales of the Wild Hunt: Hellboy Reborn”. Join the fight with Hellboy available now on digital, 4K Ultra, Blu-ray and DVD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.