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Watching this was like experiencing Hell on Earth.

What an absolutely pointless reboot Hellboy is.

For years fanboys were clamouring for a third instalment to the Ron Perlman and Guillermo Del Toro-led Hellboy (the 2004 and 2008 films) – but despite being widely-respected and critically-acclaimed, box-office receipts weren’t quite enough to go ahead.

Well timed passed, and a couple of years back – with David Harbour being a major player in hit series Stranger Things – a reboot was planned that would hopefully power through the box-office ceiling that studio execs were clamouring for.

But this has sadly bombed – and it’s not hard to see why.

The only thing this has going for it is Harbour’s performance as Mike Mignola’s iconic heavy-handed Dark Horse graphic novels character – despite still falling short of Perlman’s turn as the shaven-horned superhero – and that literally is about it.

With rumours of on-set squabbles and script rewrites, the transition to screen seemingly hasn’t been smooth for this retooling – which leads you to think they should’ve just put all their efforts into completing the original trilogy with a Hellboy 3. Now that would have been something to look forward too.

What we get is basically the same as before, just with polish and ingenuity replaced by gore and obscenities – and certainly nothing nearly as good as Del Toro’s two entries.

Since being summoned from hell by Nazi occultists during the Second World War, then ceased by Allied Forces and raised by Ian McShane’s Professor Trevor Bruttenholm – his origin story only briefly touched upon here in comparison to the 2004 film – Hellboy is a wise-cracking, half-demon who works for Bruttenholm’s Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence.

And via a couple of side stories involving giants and a double-cross, we finally reach the main plotline which is the tried and tested stereotype of a baddie returning to destroy the world – this time in the form of Milla Jovovich’s (the Resident Evil series) demon Blood Queen, Nimue.

It’s then up to Hellboy – and his sidekicks consisting of Daniel Dae Kim’s (from TV series Lost) M11 agent Daimio and young psychic Alice Monaghan (Sasha Lane) – to team up to try and prevent Nimue and cronies from unleashing a deadly apocalyptic plague on London, which will then spread across the globe.

But by trying to emulate the likes of Deadpool with its tirade of profanity and graphic violence – but only coming off about one per cent as funny – it really ends up being a reboot that simply didn’t need to be made. And a mess.

Absolutely frickin’ unnecessary.

Which like with last year’s Robin Hood – to name a recent example – will now sadly leave this beloved character probably dwelling in production hell for years to come, as it’s unlikely he’ll be unleashed properly again anytime soon.

Which is one hell of a shame – as this character deserves a lot better.

ESP Rating: 1.5/5

Gavin Miller

Cast: David Harbour, Ian Mcshane, Milla Jovovich, Daniel Dae Kim, Sasha Lane, Penelope Mitchell, Sophie Okonedo, Alistair Petrie, Mario De La Rosa, Thomas Haden Church & The Voice Of Stephen Graham

Running Time: 2 Hrs

Director: Neil Marshall

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