By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –
So, first thing you should know- I’m no Hellboy fanboy. I liked the Guillermo del Toro films and Ron Perlman’s square-jawed, more PG-13 interpretation just fine while still wondering if this was the best use of their talents (well, del Toro’s in particular- could we have gotten At the Mountains of Madness instead)?
You’re telling me you had the star power for the freakin’ Mummy remake but not a del Toro plus Lovecraft adaptation?!
Well, we’re here to talk about a hard-R something- Neil Marshall’s (The Descent) corporately mandated Hellboy erstwhile re-franchising. This Hellboy (David Harbour- appropriately Neanderthal-featured for the role) is a Comic Book Guy-approved hyperviolent version in which he needs to choose between his father, supernatural forces-fighter Professor Bruttenholm (a very Ian McShane-y Ian McShane), and the regal promises of the centuries-old villainess Nimue (Milla Jovovich) and hearken and/or prevent the Apocalypse in the process.
Harbour seems really committed to a thankless role in taking over for the beloved Ron Perlman (there are pictures of him visiting children’s hospitals in makeup all over the place for gosh’s sake), and by and large he wears the makeup and hard-boiled quips quite well. The failings of this film certainly can’t be laid at his feet (give or take the news that he and McShane would write their own dialogue before shooting when the production got really in the dumps- more on that later).
I also can say it’s certainly what it set out to be.
23I mean, some of the imagery is pretty cool.
What it set out to be is a profane, insanely gory, sophomoric erstwhile provocation. So, if that’s your thing…
Hellboy‘s also naaaassttyyyy. Not just the preponderance of head-bursting gore, of which there is plenty. No, about the time that a disfigured grandma with pendulous breasts is sloppily tonguing our hero, you kind of question what you’re doing here.
The preponderance of mid-range CGI just rubs it all in- basically any sequence (and there are several) with the disgusting Baba Yaga character has oodles of both nasty and boring CGI, although I do have admit I did kind of like the house on chicken legs. Gotta see it, I guess.
The script’s not as clever as it thinks it is- is it because Harbour and McShane were writing their own lines the night before and overruling Marshall while he fought tooth and nail with his producers? Would it really have mattered? No, no it wouldn’t have.
Hellboy is exactly what it set out to be despite its troubled production- a nasty as fuck reboot of a formerly PG-13 character that nobody really was asking for.
Hellboy (2019) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: whenever something horrifically gory happens
Take a Drink: for every flashback or flashforward
Take a Drink: every time something undergoes a gnarly physical transformation (non-fatal)
Take a Drink: every time one of Nimue’s body parts is either severed or recovered
Do a Shot: for puns