Review by Lauryn Angel
I really wanted to like Neil Marshall’s Hellboy. David Harbour seemed a good choice to play the titular character, and he looked good in the make-up. And a cast rounded out by Ian McShane and Milla Jovovich sounded great. Unfortunately, the reality is a bland movie lacking the sense of humor of Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman’s previous incarnations.
Andrew Cosby’s screenplay gives us a Big Bad in the form of Vivian Nimue (Jovovich), also known as the Blood Queen. Nimue wants a word in which the monsters can co-exist with humans, instead of being hunted down by the likes of King Arthur. Of course, Arthur bests Nimue, creating relics in the process that must be separated and never joined together, lest Nimue rise again.
Flash to the present day and the B.P.R.D. Hellboy (Harbour) is sent to London by dear old Dad, Professor Broom (McShane), to solve a problem for the Osiris Club. One thing leads to another, and our hero teams up with his old friend Alace Monaghan (Sasha Lane) and a monster-loathing former soldier, Major Ben Daimo (Daniel Dae Kim). The trio must work together to stop the pig-like Gruagach (voiced by Stephen Graham) from bringing Nimue back to eliminate the human race. Hellboy, however, doesn’t seem to think Nimue’s ideas are all bad, causing him an existential crisis.
The story is a bit predictable, but not entirely bad. However, most of the humor in the story feels forced. A few jokes land, but it’s very few, and certainly not enough to sustain the movie. It’s hard to find fault with the performances – Harbour does a decent job, but Perlman’s shoes are pretty big, and he just doesn’t fit them. McShane is a great choice for Broom, but, again, it’s hard to fill a role played so admirably by John Hurt.
Perhaps the biggest problem with the film is that is tries to reboot something that doesn’t need rebooting. Del Toro’s films are classics that stand up to re-watching 15 years later. Marshall and company might have done better to continue what del Toro and Perlman started instead of trying to recreate the franchise. Or maybe they should have just left it alone.