By Bryan K. Mount
For fans that enjoyed Guillermo del Toro’s versions of Hellboy, the 2019 version directed by Niel Marshall will probably be a letdown. Not to mention, Ron Perlman is replaced by David Harbour (from “Stranger Things”) for the role of the wisecracking, half-demon superhero Hellboy. This film focuses more on gore than content. The action scenes are lacking, even with the same style dialog.
The film does have the familiar comedy attributes, but the pace of the film is choppy at best, and the conclusion to the film is rushed. Not to say that Harbour isn’t a great actor, it’s just that compared to Perlman’s obvious fit for the role is tough to beat. This version re-tells the same story as the first films, based on Mike Mignola’s Dark Horse comic series, but with less tenacity and tact. It seems to drift as Harbour adds his own flavor to the character.
The special effects and costumes are also weak compared to the better funded original films. Perhaps, fans of the cartoon movies and comic books favor this version more, but that is doubtful. It is an origin story, that has already been executed perfectly by the first films. So, the viewer is constantly wondering why a lesser version was made.
Explaining the plot: hundreds of years ago, with King Arthur (yes, that King Arthur) slaying the evil blood queen Nimue (a vampy Milla Jovovich), slicing up her body and placing the pieces in boxes to be hidden across the land.
John Hurt’s role as Professor Broom is also sorely missed, not to mention the character Abe Sapien is not a key character yet in this set of movies. Ian Mcshane does put on his usual performance as the professor, but it seems to be the same style he always plays, an extension of his role in “American Gods.”
The movie does start out strong, but slowly fades into nothingness towards the end. Perhaps, if the viewer has not seen the first films these irritating facts won’t come into play. I will forget that I watched it, and re-watch the originals.