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‘Hellboy’ – Review

‘Hellboy’ – Review

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Big Red is back and he’s ready to go a smashing in this full-on death metal action horror ride of epic proportions that is Hellboy!

Hellboy (David Harbour) prepares to stop an ancient medieval sorceress who seeks to destroy all of mankind.

You’ve seen Hellboy before…but you’ve never seen this! Within a millisecond of the film starting you’re introduced to some serious carnage and it’s clear that director Neil Marshall is intent on doing something completely different with his take on the Hellboy legend. Marshall heavily invests in Mike Mignola’s comic book aesthetic and pumps the film full of raw horror cinema moments and midnight movie gore, and the result is something that really stands apart from Guillermo Del Toro’s own Hellboy adaptation. This Hellboy is gritty and in-your-face with it’s storytelling and it’s tone and style suggest a definite punk rock, smashbox attitude. Marshall draws on a massive canvas to tell his story and adds in a great kinetic energy that propels the action forward. There’s so much cool stuff to witness here and you definitely get amped!

Donning the horns and wielding the right hand of doom this time is David Harbour and the actor really makes the character his own. Absolutely stacked and possessed of a hulking intimidation factor, Harbour plays Hellboy as a conflicted character who has some serious issues and who is slightly fed up with his position in life. A severe relationship with his adoptive father Professor Trevor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane), also doesn’t make things any easier and then there’s his whole apocalyptic destiny thrown in there. Can’t a guy just catch a break. With Harbour you get this great working-man, blue collar vibe of a guy who’s got an incredibly tough job, but who just gets on with it anyway. Harbour really goes for it his performance here and I loved the badass swagger that he brought to the comic medium’s biggest bruiser.

Joining Harbour is the legendary Ian McShane as Hellboy’s teacher, instructor and father figure Professor Trevor Bruttenholm and this is indeed a bold new portrayal. While we were first introduced to Bruttenholm as a wizened and learned old scholar in 2004’s Hellboy, here he’s a far more rough and tumble character whose taken the tough love approach to raising his son and McShane’s old school hardass character is very much present here. Anytime Ian McShane steps up to work you’ve gotta have your eyes open and he’s a great addition to the film and really fits the tone that Marshall is going for.

Addinf support to Hellboy this time is gruff and ready to rumble Spec Ops soldier Major Ben Daimio, played by Daniel Dae Kim, and this is a great step up for Kim. Always a consumate professional, Kim is a great foil for Hellboy as Daimio and his by the books approach and steadfast discipline, along with his instant dislike for this ‘monster’ makes for interesting and engaging viewing. Kim really threw himself into the Hellboy world and is proficient on the trigger and absolutely ripped which helps him to portray this scarred up professional soldier. But like all things in Hellboy, Daimio isn’t exactly what he first appears to be and this soldier is hiding his own secrets, that once unleashed, make for some very interesting viewing. I was extremely pleased by what we got to see here with Kim and he makes for a terrific new addition to the BPRD.

Finally Milla Jovovich makes a frightening appearance as Nimue, the Blood Queen, a vindictive and dark sorceress who has plans to unleash the apocalypse and craft her own Eden on what remains of the Earth. Jovovich is an actress who always makes you sit up and take notice and as Nimue she channels a scary charisma that she unleashes to great effect. Her role and position in the story have a great political context to them and her mantra and ideas also start to work on Hellboy, even if she’s also content to give him a good slap in the process as well.

If you want action, well you’ll get it here because Hellboy absolutely goes for it. From vampire wrestling to a giant smackdown to the apocalypse itself, Hellboy brings plenty of pulp action to the big screen and with it is a true serving of horror gore. Marshall’s grounding for this film is very much the world of Mignola’s comics and as a long-time Hellboy fan I can’t express how amazed I was to see the author’s world transported fully to the screen. Here you really are seeing panels ripped from the pages and brought to life on screen and it’s an incredible visceral experience. Then there’s the film’s reliance on practical effects and this really helps to add up to something extremely special. Both the action and the horror are really in your face and you’ll definitely get pumped here.

Hellboy is just straight out punk rock cinema at it’s finest and if you’re wanting a good dose of pulp action then this film will really get your blood going and your heart racing.

Image: Roadshow Pictures