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article imageReview: ‘Hellboy’ gives new meaning to ‘big red’ Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Apr 20, 2019 in Entertainment
The latest ‘Hellboy’ takes a different approach to the narrative that fans of the original may not enjoy as much, but it stands on its own fairly well.
The debate regarding nature vs. nurture rages on, though the answer is probably a bit of both. However, then the question becomes, which carries more weight and can potentially overpower the other? Not judging a creature by its appearances is typically a grade school lesson, but it can be difficult to keep in mind when one looks so monstrous… or comes from Hell. Yet, with the proper cultivation almost any intelligent being has the potential to be a contributing member of society instead of a destructive one. In Hellboy, he is in a constant struggle with good and evil, but at least good is winning so far.
In the Dark Ages, an immortal witch named Nimue (Milla Jovovich) was trying to summon a supernatural plague that would wipeout humanity. Fortunately, she was stopped by King Arthur, who dismembered her undying body and scattered it across the globe. However, someone is now putting her back together and the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.) are the only ones who can stop her from destroying the world. In the meantime, the investigation is also revealing a lot about Hellboy’s (David Harbour) origins and the role he’s expected to play in the end of the world, which causes tensions between him and his adopted father, Professor Broom (Ian McShane)
Guillermo Del Toro’s take on “Big Red,” starring Ron Perlman in the title role, was a bit campy, but undeniably enjoyable. Hellboy’s sense of humour was dry and consistent, as well as enhanced by his timely sarcasm. He was also joined by two agents who countered and complemented his attitude and expertise. Harbour’s version has a similar yet slightly softer look, though his wit has been boiled down to a sprinkling of one-liners — and unfortunately most of the funniest scenes are in the trailer. He seems a bit younger than his counterpart, perhaps portraying a know-it-all agent in his 20s who’s yet to gain some hardening life experiences versus a grown man who’s been around the block a few times. He’s also teamed up with even younger agent, Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane), and more-than-meets-the-eye grouch, Major Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim).
The B.P.R.D.’s job is to contain supernatural threats to our existence, which has always positioned it in the horror genre. This film embraces that with a lot of big, hideous monsters and a much darker narrative. It also goes for a more mature rating by incorporating curse words, and gallons of blood that spills and sprays everywhere during battle. It’s not really scary, but they definitely have the gore-factor covered. The fully-realized ability of the girl who can talk to the dead is uniquely fascinating, while the alternative take on a changeling has interesting repercussions.
It’s difficult not to compare films — particularly when the first picture has such a loyal following — and, in doing so, the original definitely triumphs. But judged on its own, director Neil Marshall delivers a solid genre picture that explores some unexpected aspects of Hellboy’s life while fully embracing its darker side.
Director: Neil Marshall
Starring: David Harbour, Milla Jovovich and Ian McShane
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