Movie Review: This Hellboy has no soul
Someone must have thought they were pretty smart releasing two cuts - M18 and PG13 - of Hellboy.
Having seen both versions, I felt the smarter approach would have been to make a good film for starters.
It says a lot that on the day of Hellboy's release, reports were unleashed of behind-the-scenes turmoil, fallouts between producers and director and of general finger-pointing.
Without context, you could be forgiven for thinking that this reboot had been locked in a vault for 20 years.
It smacks of the old way to do comic book adaptations - that is, ignore the actual character and imagine the key audience as rebellious teenage boys. And Hellboy here is little more than a moody teen.
So we get a grunge look, charmless, style-free swearing (even in the PG13 cut), laughable gore and a peppering of the worst CGI in a major film for some years. (Remember the notoriously poor effects in 2002's The Scorpion King? Hellboy has it beat.)
There is the occasional flourish of design, but mostly it looks like an old video game's cut scene.
Potential plot threads that could be interesting are quickly abandoned for more attempts at smart quips.
Lead actor David Harbour struggles to act past the heavy prosthetics, which is bizarre considering Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy films came out in 2004 and 2008 and yet the practical effects seem years ahead of what is here.
The worst offender is the audio dubbing. Everyone sounds as though they re-recorded their dialogue and the flattest take was chosen.
Daniel Dae Kim and his take on a posh English voiceover is bad enough, but Sasha Lane's delivery in an Eliza Doolittle accent does her no favours.
And when you find yourself glazing over during the on-screen carnage and thinking more about how both Milla Jovovich and Kim have barely aged in over a decade, you know that film has gone wrong.
Rating: 2 stars
STARRING: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich, Ian McShane, Daniel Dae Kim, Sasha Lane
DIRECTOR: Neil Marshall
THE SKINNY: Paranormal investigator Hellboy (Harbour) is torn between two worlds when an ancient witch (Jovovich) comes looking for a husband.
RATING: M18 and PG13