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Film Review – Hellboy

I really don’t understand all the hate this movie is getting, ⅖ on Empire, 11% on Rotten Tomatoes, Hellboy has not been received well by critics and I have no understanding of why. This movie is exactly what I expected it to be, a fun, cheesy, action flick with enough swearing and gore to fill the runtime. The movie isn’t perfect by any means and does have a lot of problems but it’s still an extremely entertaining movie.

I knew going in, this version of Hellboy was not going to be as good as the Del Toro version and that’s because the tones are all over the place. I knew this straight away from the trailers, the original is dark and grim with smart humour thrown throughout. Hellboy 2019 is a straight-up action comedy, this does work for the tone this version is going for but some people might be disappointed just how tonally different it is when compared to the original. Personally, I really enjoyed the tone of this movie, I was laughing all throughout, the action is extremely over-the-top and is accompanied by cheesy one-liners. The giant fight scene is one of the highlights, the whole scene felt like something taken straight out of God Of War.

David Harbour does a good enough job as Hellboy, is he as good as Ron Perlman? No, but he does embody his version of the character and I always loved seeing his Hellboy on screen. Where the movie lacks is it’s side characters, I knew this version wasn’t going to have Abe Sapien and already that was a huge letdown but I still had hope that the new characters would gel just as well as the original team did. Sadly, this is one of the movies weaker points, Hellboy, Liz, Abe and John Myers were a great team in the original and all of them had great chemistry. Although I liked Harbour’s version of Hellboy, the same can’t be said for his team members Alice and Ben, one can speak to the dead and the other a shape-shifting wolf. Sounds cool on paper but nothing is ever really done with this and Ben only gets to use his power during the final fight, what could have been a cool character gets very little screentime. 

Milla Jovovich’s villain Nimue could have been so good, she’s an enchantress who has the power to control blood, already she sounds like someone to be feared but just like most of the characters in this movie, she gets very little development and not much is seen off her powers until the final fight scene. I will give her a little credit as I always loved seeing her character on screen despite her being very disappointing, every one of her lines is so over-the-top and cheesy that she became so much fun to watch.

The soundtrack is filled with death metal covers and some people might find this off-putting but it works really well when compared to the tone of the movie. The gore is overblown and I loved every second of it, one of my favourite scenes was when these colossal sized demons (that you see in the trailer) are roaming the streets of London slashing everyone in their path. Civilians are impaled, blown up, sliced in two and my personal favourite was seeing a guys face ripped clean off by a cleaver and to see him still walking around after. If you’re a fan of gore then you certainly won’t be disappointed. 

As I said the movie is far from perfect, the acting ranges from good to extremely bad and this is mostly down to Sasha Lane who does a terrible English accent. It was extremely off-putting every time she spoke and her line delivery didn’t help either. The CGI does have some good moments but overall looks really out of place and obviously fake, it was never bad enough to take me out of the movie and personally, I felt it added to the comic vibe this version was going for. The story also struggles at being original, every aspect of the narrative we’ve seen time and time again, I appreciated that they glossed over Hellboy’s backstory but everything we got still felt rehashed from every other fantasy/superhero movie.

Overall, Hellboy 2019 is not as bad as what other critics are saying about it. It may not be as good as Del Toro’s version but the different feel in town helps to at least allow this version to stand on its own two feet. The action, acting and gore are over-the-top and silly, making it one of the more entertaining movies of 2019.

Hellboy (6.5/10)

Director: Neil Marshall

Runtime: 121 Minutes