Hellboy (Subtitled) (15)

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Action (2019)
121mins US

Starring: Sasha Lane, Ian McShane, Milla Jovovich, David Harbour, Daniel Dae Kim
Director: Neil Marshall
Writer(s): Andrew Cosby
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Hellboy is a wise-cracking operative for the Bureau For Paranormal Research And Development (BPRD), which maintains an uneasy peace between humans and otherworldly creatures. He works under the command of adopted father Trevor Butterholm, who keeps a tight control of his team comprising Alice Monaghan and Ben Daimio. The BPRD swings into action when an ancient sorceress, The Blood Queen, rises from the underworld to destroy mankind.

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LondonNet Film Review
Hellboy (15)

Hell hath no fury like wise-cracking demonic spawn with surrogate daddy issues in director Neil Marshall's laboured reboot of Mike Mignola's Dark Horse Comics series. Flexing its technical design muscles in every frame, Hellboy doesn't quite descend into purgatory but there are moments when it comes perilously close with a dizzying array of digital trickery that doesn't always fuse seamlessly with performances. Some action-packed sequences are unnecessarily protracted like the rampage of deformed creatures through the streets of London, gleefully tearing terrified pedestrians limb from limb and skewering other unfortunates on spiny appendages. Marshall delights in eviscerating, decapitating, skewering and disembowelling men and women in gore-soaked close-up to the thunderous beat of Benjamin Wallfisch's bombastic score...

Hellboy. Copyright: Lionsgate Films. Caption: David Harbour as Hellboy in Hellboy, directed by Neil Marshall. Photo: Mark Rogers. All Rights Reserved.The revamp arrives more than 10 years after Oscar winner Guillermo del Toro unleashed trolls, goblins and a nine-feet tall Angel Of Death in Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Sometimes, a change is as good as a rest but a change of key personnel behind and in front of the camera - Stranger Things actor David Harbour replaces Ron Perlman in the title role - suggests Mignola's horned anti-hero could have been rested for another decade.

Spewed from the flaming bowels of the earth during the Second World War, Hellboy (Harbour) wages war on creatures of the dark as a valued member of the Bureau For Paranormal Research And Development (BPRD). Under the command of his adopted father, Professor Butterholm (Ian McShane), Hellboy travels to Tijuana to rescue fellow agent Esteban Ruiz (Mario de la Rosa) from a vampire's nest at a lucha libre wrestling ring. When the mission goes sour, the wise-cracking monster hunter ventures to England to accompany Osiris Society president Lord Adam Glaren (Alistair Petrie) on the hunt for three rampaging giants.

In the ensuing melee, allegiances become tangled and Hellboy is reunited with a girl from his past, Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane), who is a gifted spirit medium. Her ability to communicate with the dead proves vital when hulking wild boar Gruagach (Stephen Graham) reassembles the severed limbs of a powerful witch (Milla Jovovich). Captain Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim), head of Special Ops for M11, and soothsayer Lady Hatton (Sophie Okonedo) accompany Hellboy on a suicide mission to slay the diabolical crone. "Then what?" barks the half-demon. "Then we make sure she doesn't come back for the sequel," deadpans Alice.

Hellboy is lighter on wry humour than its predecessors, although there is unintentional comedy in an overblown prologue which corrupts the mythology of King Arthur (Mark Stanley) and Excalibur. Harbour is more misery than mirth as the eponymous superhero, wrestling with a gloomy prophecy which permits Marshall to render apocalyptic destruction on a grand scale. Somewhere amidst the rubble is a leaner 100-minute action adventure snarling to be released.

- Jo Planter

Hellboy. Copyright: Lionsgate Films. Caption: David Harbour as Hellboy in Hellboy, directed by Neil Marshall. Photo: Mark Rogers. All Rights Reserved.

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