FILM UNFILTERED – ‘Hellboy’ reboot falls short

FILM UNFILTERED – ‘Hellboy’ reboot falls short


Guillermo del Toro made two exceptionally good “Hellboy” films with Ron Perlman playing the demon from Hell with broken horns and ridiculously oversized stone right arm. While not quite the mainstream draw the studio hoped for, the adaption of the very popular Mike Mignola comic was a fan favorite.

A third film languished and never got greenlit before ultimately falling victim to tight budget consciousness by studio financiers. But, with the R-rated success of “Deadpool” and its sequel, studios soon began dusting off previous PG-13 properties to determine if they could be reinvigorated by targeting the same groups going out to see Ryan Reynolds foul-mouthed mercenary. The seemingly dead “Hellboy” got new life sans del Toro and a new leading man by way of David Harbour.

Harbour is fresh off two seasons of the insanely popular Netflix series “Stranger Things.” With momentum behind him, he dons the persona of the son of the devil. This third film is a loose reboot, but jettisons too much background information so it can concentrate on the story at hand. The evil Blood Queen, Nimue (Milla Jovovich), has returned and is looking to take control of England and rule with her army of monsters. She had been thwarted back in the 5th century by King Arthur and Merlin and was dismembered and locked away in separate trunks across the lands.

You learn that Hellboy is a member of the BPRD, the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, led by his foster father Professor Broom (Ian McShane). He ends up in England but gets double-crossed and soon has to take matters into his own hands. This new “Hellboy” isn’t a bad movie, it just isn’t that great. The storyline seems generic and mediocre and there were legitimate points during the film where I struggled to stay awake. This film’s cinematography is as dark as a Zack Snyder DC film. I know England is notoriously rainy, wet and dreary but this film ramps it up even more. Thank goodness there’s points where Hellboy is adorned with a flaming crown and flaming sword to light things up.

I just feel very strongly that this had the potential to be an excellent film but for whatever reason got watered down somehow. Now, I don’t know if this is a byproduct of del Toro not being involved or Lionsgate (the studio) eager to rush this film to market. The other regrettable aspect here is all the incessant cursing. It’s almost as if they went out of their way to take full advantage of the R rating to get in as much dirty language as possible, that after a while becomes tedious and boring.

Daniel Dae Kim is Hellboy’s partner Major Daimio who has a few tricks up his sleeve as does the new recruit Alice (Sasha Lane) and they provide good supporting actor backup to Harbour.

Harbour does, at the very least, do an exceptional job of filling the role of the burly, wickedly snarky son of the underworld. Though, when in that prosthetic and covered in makeup, I cannot imagine it’s not difficult to channel or become such a beast. But it isn’t enough to save this film.

“Stranger Things” actor David Harbour stars as the son of the devil in the new release of “Hellboy.”