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Hellboy (2019) - Movie Review

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As a huge fan of Guillermo Del Toro’s 2004 original adaptation of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, I was disappointed that he didn’t get to round out his trilogy in this universe. But, as with most things that make a buck these days, it was inevitable that someone would take up the task of rebooting. Some, like the latest incarnation of Spider-man, are worth the endeavor… and then there’s 2019’s Hellboy.

Neil Marshall is no newcomer to film. He has given us the likes of The Descent for one. It took me a total of about three minutes, enduring the most ham-fisted, awfully written prologue I’ve seen in living memory, to sniff out something fishy was going on.

"There is no common sense to the narrative, no sense of pacing, no sense of anything but LOOK AT THE BLOOD and how many times can we say a rude word!"

This version of Big Red eschews traditional linear origin tale, exposing us to (Stranger Things) David Harbour’s incarnation mid-case, and wasting no time in diving us deep into the gore, swear words, and spectacle. Harbour is good; he wisely isn’t attempting to channel Perman’s version, and while making the character his own, manages to imbue familiarity and his sense of comedic timing (just barely) through some truly awful dialogue.

His Hellboy is sent to England, after finishing the case and getting wasted on tequila, where we are for the second time, told through more shitty expository dialogue that an ancient blood queen is coming and will spell the end of man.

The script is crammed, and not in a good way, with exposition characters, sub plots, what they seem to think are curveballs/red herrings. There is no common sense to the narrative, no sense of pacing, no sense of anything but LOOK AT THE BLOOD and how many times can we say a rude word! The attempted humor is a lot more miss than hit—actually it’s just shit. The convolution and bad jokes had me praying for the film to be over.

There is no sense of a unified story being told. It’s as if they got skilled people who are just throwing shit at a wall to see what stuck. I would almost bet money the Marshall was usurped in the production. This smacks of a movie run by the suits, people who have no business sitting in an editing room.

The effects are adequate, but show no identity of their own. I’ve already started forgetting the overload of disparate imagery, so they can’t have served their purpose that well. The gore is a snore, to be honest. Had it served a purpose, other than more noise, it may have landed better. Less is sometimes more.

As far as fidelity to the source material, I must plead ignorance, as I’ve not read the Hellboy comics. But as far as hitting the major character points from the 2004 version, I will say they get to most of them. You’ll have to wade through a bog of rubbish to get there, but you’ll get those beats. Hellboy

Missing from this incarnation are Abe Sapien and Liz, so other forgettable characters fill the roles of sidekicks here.

What frustrates me is there are snippets throughout this whole film of possible greatness, but they are always overpowered by the sheer litany of shit editing, writing, acting, and inconsistency that informs each of these elements. If the likes of Harbour and McShane cannot rise above the crap, you know you’re in deep.

I really liked the last trailer. It had me hopeful for a fun time. This was just a test of endurance, sadly. To succinctly sum up in Hellboy’s coveted and wasted R Rating: This is one big fat FUCKING MESS.

2 stars


MPAA Rating: R for strong bloody violence and gore throughout, and language.
120 mins
: Neil Marshall
Andrew Cosby
David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane
: Action | Adventure | Fantasy
Save the World for the Hell of It.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I thought we were supposed to be fighting monsters, not working with them."
Theatrical Distributor:
Official Site:
Release Date:
April 12, 2019
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: Based on the graphic novels by Mike Mignola, Hellboy, caught between the worlds of the supernatural and human, battles an ancient sorceress bent on revenge.



Blu-ray Details:

No details available.


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