Review: Rebooted 'Hellboy' snuffs original's fire

R-rated and proud of it, new 'Hellboy' revels in blood and curse words but has none of the original's attitude

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic
David Harbour in "Hellboy."

Like two giant horns protruding from your noggin, "Hellboy" is one hell of a headache. 

Not since "Suicide Squad" has a comic book movie felt so excruciating. "Hellboy" is big, dumb and loud, a huge step back from Guillermo del Toro's inventive 2004 original, which pre-dated and even helped lay the groundwork for Hollywood's current obsession with all things superhero.   

Neil Marshall, the down-and-dirty genre filmmaker behind "The Descent" and "Dog Soldiers," is at the helm here, the biggest project he's ever steered. But his over-reliance on sub-par CGI visuals (marked by heavy digital blood splatter) and a script that's like if every joke in "Deadpool" flatlined make this franchise reboot a major misfire.

"Stranger Things'" David Harbour steps into the red skin of the title character and does nothing to make you forget the way Ron Perlman so perfectly inhabited the role previously. His quips (courtesy of Andrew Cosby's gratuitously foul-mouthed script) have no firepower, and his psychological pain feels like that of a tortured teenager rather than a warrior.

Ian McShane shows up as Hellboy's father, "American Honey's" Sasha Lane and "Lost's" Daniel Dae Kim play Hellboy's partners. Meanwhile Milla Jovovich is a character named the Blood Queen who claims to be "vengeance eternal," but Jovovich seems barely capable of mustering mild annoyance, let alone vengeance. 

Why reboot "Hellboy?" The idea here seems to be to revel in an R-rating, so characters constantly pepper their speech with F-bombs for no other reason than to do it (and because "Deadpool" did it first). Just like everything else in the movie, it's overkill, and it's enough to want to send this movie straight back to Hellboy's home turf.




Rated R: for strong bloody violence and gore throughout, and language  

Running time: 121 minutes