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Blu-ray Review: Hellboy

July 30, 2019

By John Corrado

★★ (out of 4)

There is something appealing about the idea of seeing David Harbour, who we all know and love as the grizzled Chief Hopper on Stranger Things, take over the role of Hellboy, a half-demon hero who works with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence and has dedicated his life to protecting humans.

But unfortunately director Neil Marshall’s Hellboy, which serves as both a new adaptation of Mike Mignola’s comic books and a reboot of Guillermo del Toro’s two acclaimed films starring Ron Perlman, is mostly a noisy and chaotic misfire that feels like a missed opportunity.

The film finds its title character, who was brought up from the underworld as a baby in 1944 as part of an occult Nazi experiment and raised alongside humans by his adoptive father Professor Broom (Ian McShane), being sent to England to face off against resurgent supernatural threats from the Dark Ages that once again pose a risk to all of mankind.

This time around, Hellboy is tasked with defeating The Blood Queen, Nimue (Milla Jovovich), an ancient sorceress who was sliced apart by King Arthur (Mark Stanley) and has now been dug up and pieced back together by the warthog demon Gruagach (Stephen Graham), who has his own personal vendetta against our hero. Nimue is out for vengeance and is hellbent on bringing about the apocalypse by summoning mythical creatures from the depths of the underworld. Working alongside his old friend Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane), a psychic medium who can communicate with the dead, and Major Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim), it’s up to Hellboy to stop Nimue and send her back underground.

The film is not completely devoid of entertaining moments, including a fight with giants in the English countryside, and sometimes works as a schlocky and gory action flick that leans in heavily on the camp factor. There are some fun needle drops on the soundtrack, and Harbour does bring a sort of sarcastic charm to the role that fits the character well, but this isn’t enough to fully redeem this version of Hellboy. It ultimately succumbs to a convoluted and overly cheesy script to become somewhat of a murky, CGI-riddled mess. It’s just not very good, and with del Toro’s much better films already out there, this Hellboy doesn’t really offer enough for me to fully recommend it.

The Blu-ray also includes a solid amount of bonus features starting with Tales of the Wild Hunt: Hellboy Reborn which, at around seventy minutes long, offers a substantial behind the scenes look at the making of the film. This is followed by a selection of sequences from the film shown in their previsualization stages, several deleted scenes, a short featurette that touches on how close the film stays to Mignola’s comics, and finally soundbites and B-Roll featuring footage of Mignola, Harbour and Lane at last year’s New York Comic-Con.

Hellboy is a VVS Films release. It’s 121 minutes and rated 18A.

Street Date: July 23rd, 2019

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