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Hello, Movie Buffs!
1,500 years ago Nimue (Milla Jovovich), a blood witch hell-bent on world destruction, was defeated by King Arthur and Merlin. Her body was cut into pieces and scattered throughout the world but now Gruagach, a household spirit of British folklore with an ax to grind against Hellboy (David Harbour) is working on putting Nimue back together. Now Hellboy, his adoptive father Professor Broom (Ian McShane), Alice (Sasha Lane) an old friend and clairvoyant, and Agent Daimio (Dae Kim) from M-11 must work together to stop Nimue before she kicks starts the apocalypse that will destroy the world as we know it. Can they stop her in time or will they be too late? Can Hellboy resist her temptations or will he succumb to the darkness inside of him? Directed by Neil Marshall (Doomsday, Centurion), written by Andrew Cosby (Eureka), and based on the Dark Horse Comic Book by Mike Mignola (Hellboy, Hellboy 2), Hellboy (2019) is the start of a new series that is more violent, bloodier, and darker Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy films starring Ron Perlman. Comic books based films are all the rage right now as the utilize big budgets to bring the literary world to life in ways that the original fanbase never thought possible. With DC and Marvel fighting for dominance as well as being largely outnumbered, smaller and lesser known studios are still striving to make a lasting name for themselves. The first two installments by Del Toro may be outdated but they’re just as impressive, charming, and entertaining as they were when they first came out. Most fans would have preferred a third installment from Del Toro or at least one that follows after the second film, however, that didn’t happen and what we got instead is... interesting to say the least.
Director Marshall aims to create a new Hellboy series that utilizes an R-rating by amping up the blood, gore, and violence. Now, I have seen my fair share of bloody, gory films like 47 Meters Down, 300, 300: Rise of an Empire, Suker Punch, and more. But Hellboy immediately starts out in a disturbingly violent way that made me close my eyes out of reflex. The storytelling does have a few bright moments of clever filmmaking but it lacks a lot of the humor and charm that made its predecessors successful. It’s not exactly the worst film to date, but it does pale in comparison. Of course, some people might point out that the film is based on a dark comic and while that might be true, there is such a thing as too much blood, gore, and violence. I have a strong stomach but at some points, particularly Hellboy’s interaction with Baba Yaga and Nimue’s climactic assault on mankind (as seen in the trailers), were a bit queasy to watch. Also, there were moments when the action either too much or was lackluster despite what the trailers promised ahead of time.
As for the cast performances, I did enjoy those to an extent. I will always prefer Ron Perlman as Hellboy but David Harbour (Black Widow, Suicide Squad) does make a good effort as the character. It actually took me a little bit to figure out that it wasn’t Perlman reprising the role. Ian McShane (John Wick 3) takes over John Holt and does a good job at it, Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil: The Final Chapter) is almost unrecognizable as Nimue, Daniel Dae-Kim (Hawaii Five-O, The Good Doctor) is interesting as British agent with a dark secret, and Sasha Lane (American Honey) is surprisingly good as a new coming actor. The rest of the characters did a good job, especially Troy Jones & Emma Tate as Baba Yaga who were, for all intents and purposes, nightmarishly creepy.
Overall, Hellboy (2019) is a decent film but it lacks the same charm and humor that the original films had which is what made them so successful. The storytelling was okay and what humor we are given can’t really be considered humor, however, I believe the last complaint is justified by its rating. In other words, humor is a game of hit or miss but when it comes to humor in R-rated films that game gets even harder because now you can add vulgarity to the “humor” which isn’t something that suits my tastes. Of course, this doesn’t mean that Hellboy is a horrible film because I am sure that there is going to be a number of viewers out there that will find it highly enjoyable but I’m not one of them. I’m not going to be the one that tells you whether or not you should see this film, I think we're all old enough to make that decision ourselves, but I do recommend that you keep in mind the R-rating and what that entails for this film.
Final Vote --- 6 of 10 stars
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Blade: Trinity (2004)
Ghost Rider (2007)
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008)
I, Frankenstein (2014)
Jonah Hex (2010)
Sin City (2005)
Sucker Punch (2011)
V for Vendetta (2006)