“We Faced Every Threat There Is, And Yet You Take Me In. You Made Me A Goddamn Weapon…”
Adding itself onto the esteemed list of cinematic remakes which not one single person in the entire galaxy ever asked for, the “re-imagining” of the stump-headed, Hellboy, hits the big screen this week, offering a fresh interpretation of the charismatic, blood-red superhero famously first seen on film thanks to the now Academy Award winning, Guillermo Del Toro, back in 2004 and again in its respective sequel four years later. With the project beginning life back in 2014 and first propositioned once again to Del Toro who ultimately turned the chance down to return to directorial duties, the reigns have been handed down to Newcastle-born, Neil Marshall, whose early excellent exploits in the form of Dog Soldiers and The Descent, both interesting and memorable B-movie splatterthons, resulting in the Geordie moving onto the likes of Game of Thrones among other high-profile projects. With a new director comes too, a new leading star, with the magnanimous Ron Perlman being replaced with Stranger Things star, David Harbour, who gleefully takes up the chance to embrace the lead role, and whilst Hellboy circa 2019 takes a more bloodthirsty and radically adult approach to the infamous spawn of hell, Marshall’s movie is not just one of the worst remakes ever to be plunged into existence, it is undoubtedly one of the tackiest, cringe-laden so-called “blockbusters” I have ever had the displeasure of fidgeting through in recent memory.
With an opening monologue which attempts to add a semblance of backstory as we are introduced to Milla Jovovich’s (Resident Evil) poorly designed and not so threatening Blood Queen, the deep-voiced dulcet tones of Ian McShane (John Wick) actually made me wonder whether what I had voluntary walked into was actually a massive Hollywood April fools joke which just happened to be just over a week old. Unfortunately this clearly was not the case, with the sudden appearance of Harbour’s hairy Hellboy proving that instead, what Marshall has created is an cinematic abomination of scarily hilarious proportions which can only be described as Pan’s Labyrinth meets Gods of Egypt as directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. With awfully timed humour, bare-bones level digital effects and a sense of immature rankness which takes pleasure in needless levels of exploitation gore, Hellboy in other, sensible hands may actually have been a semi-decent R-rated, nerdgasm-esque guilty pleasure in the ilk of Deadpool or the more serious and memorable, Logan, but with a central script featuring pig-headed demons with terrible scouse accents, zero sense of threat and attempts at characterisation which hit new, unprecedented levels of awfulness, Marshall’s decision to remake a well regarded supernatural superhero franchise clearly should have been prevented from the offset, and with an ending which points at the possibility of a sequel, the fact that Hellboy was the closest I have ever come to completely walking out of the cinema means that such a dream will most definitely not be coming true anytime soon. Absolutely dreadful.