MAGICAL: David Harbour stars as Hellboy with Sasha Lane as Alice.

Hellboy

  • Action fantasy; Cert R16, contains graphic violence and offensive language; 2hrs
  • Starring: David Harbour, Ian McShane, Milla Jovovich, Daniel Dae Kim, Sasha Lane, Penelope Mitchell, Brian Gleeson, Sophie Okonedo and Alistair Petrie
  • Director: Neil Marshall

WITH a plot that relies on the addition of new characters and tasks to keep moving forward, Hellboy plays more like a first-person shooter game than film.

This reboot of the Hellboy franchise breaks from the light-hearted undertones of the two prequels and hits hard and heavy with a blood-soaked plot where the body count becomes too high to keep track.

The lackluster storyline has Hellboy (David Harbour – Stranger Things) working for the Bureau of Paranormal Research to perform a series of random and unconnected tasks that eventually lead to a final battle against the so-called Blood Queen (Milla Jovovich – Resident Evil).

The film’s meandering path does little to ingratiate the characters to the audience and aside from some cliched attempts at developing a rapport between the characters, there is little chemistry to be found on-screen.

The film’s strength is in its special effects. But since much of the budget was spent on creating images of decapitation and dismemberment, the screen is typically awash with blood and body parts.

The dialogue is, at best, strained and interlaced with swearing that, rather than giving an air of seriousness and immediacy, seems out of place and awkwardly puerile.

At times the film comes across as being purposely ridiculous, with a tongue-in-cheek feel to the drama and humour.

But on the whole, the film lacks the self-consciousness and wink to the audience to make its ridiculousness a shared joke and falls flat.

The film never seems to find the right tone – all the unusual stuff feels unintentionally comical and the intentional humour is too contrived.

6/10

mark.rieder@thebeacon.co.nz