Over a decade after the much loved Guillermo Del Toro originals, and plans for a third aborted, comes a rather bloody Hellboy reboot. Directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent) and starring Stranger Things sheriff David Harbour in the titular role, Hellboy works with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense alongside his ‘dad’ Professor Broom (Ian McShane) to help save the world from evil, supernatural beings. The being in question this time is Nimue (Milla Jovovich), the blood sorceress hell bent on world domination – what else hey…
Alongside the end of the world stuff we get the usual origins story and lots of other subplots in a rather muddled, and unimaginative tale. Which all comes to a head in an entertainingly, if rather expected, apocalyptic manner – with fire, fury, cliches and dodgy CGI as far as the eye can see. It is dark, gothic and exceedingly gory – with limbs flying and blood flowing. Whilst this certainly provides a visceral spectacle, hell the film starts with a bird picking at a dangling eyeball, it feels a tad overdone, too try-hard.
There are some enjoyable moments, Hellboy’s little scrap with some giants one of them, helped along by the soundtrack which includes ‘Psycho’ by Muse, ‘Welcome to my Nightmare’ by Alice Cooper and a marvellous orchestral reworking of Deep Purple’s ‘Smoke on the Water’ by 2WEI. Also you get to see Eastenders Big Mo, ahem Laila Morse, weilding a machine gun so everycloud and all that.
These are the exceptions that prove the rule, as the vast majority of the two hours is mediocrity at its stodgy and muddled worst – and of course the ending tees up a sequel! Despite these surroundings David Harbour puts in a stellar performance as the hard hitting devil with a fondness for booze. Not forgetting Milla Jovovich, with a wonderfully over the top, maniacal villain routine.
Apocalyptic fury, gothic overtures and lots of gore cannot disguise a poor film with a muddled plot and surprisingly bad CGI.