Review of “Hellboy”

Back in the 5th Century, a powerful sorceress named Nimue (Milla Jovovich), also known as The Blood Queen, led an army of monsters in a battle against humanity and released a plague on the world. But, Nimue was betrayed by a witch on her council and was beheaded by King Arthur with his sword Excalibur. Arthur dismembered the still alive Nimue, placed each of her body parts in separate boxes, sealed by a priest’s blessing, and scattered across Britain so she could never release her death plague on mankind again. Summoned from Hell in a last-ditch effort by the Nazis to turn the Second World War in their favor, Hellboy (David Harbour) was meant to be killed by agents from the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD). Instead, agent Trevor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane) raised the young demon into a man and used his unique abilities to fight the forces of evil. A couple of Hellboy’s enemies team up to find the pieces of Nimue and put her back together. They want revenge against Hellboy, but Nimue has other plans that include bringing the Apocalypse…and she needs Hellboy to make Hell on Earth a reality.

This reboot of “Hellboy” was doomed to fail. First, fans of Guillermo del Toro’s 2004 original are deeply loyal to that film and the two would inevitably be compared, with del Toro’s films always being the one preferred. Next, there’s David Harbour’s portrayal of Hellboy compared to Ron Perlman’s. Perlman is much more playful and lighthearted as the spawn from Hell, while Harbour is primarily angry and conflicted through the movie. Finally, there’s the story. According to the film’s Wikipedia page, aspects from four different Hellboy comics were used to create the story seen in the film. It’s an “everything and the kitchen sink” approach that doesn’t give the movie much of a chance to breathe, as it gallops through an enormous amount of exposition and CGI action scenes to arrive at a conclusion that is painfully obvious.

There’s so much going on in “Hellboy” I haven’t mentioned two major characters. The first is Alice Monaghan, played by Sasha Lane. She has a connection to Hellboy’s past and one of his past enemies. She’s important to the plot as she can contact and speak to and for the dead. It’s an ability the plot requires to be important at expedient times in the story. Despite how she’s used, Alice is a refreshing character. Her snark is one bright spot in an otherwise dreary movie.

The second is Major Ben Daimio, played by Daniel Dae Kim. Daimio is a member of Britain’s paranormal agency M11 and has large scars that look like claw marks across his face. Daimio doesn’t like Hellboy and puts plans into place to kill him. Daimio also has a secret that makes him a bit of a hypocrite. I feel a bit sorry for Kim. He was put in the role after Ed Skrein was originally cast then withdrew after he was informed the character in the comics is of Asian descent. I’m sure Kim is a very good actor as he’s been in a bunch of stuff I’ve seen. However, in “Hellboy,” he’s miscast as an aggressive, always angry Brit. Kim can’t hold on to the British accent for the whole movie. In one scene he ditches it altogether. While Kim can hold a fake military weapon believably, I just didn’t buy into his being a gung-ho soldier.

The tone of the film is dark and angry, a sharp contrast to the 2004 film’s lighter, more humorous take. Perhaps this is closer to the character from the comics, but it makes for an uninvolving and morose movie viewing experience.

“Hellboy” is rated R for gore throughout, strong bloody violence and language. There is blood, intestines, brains, decapitation, severed arms, legs, fingers, eyes poked out, bodies hanging from hooks, what appears to be insects causing people to disintegrate, bodies impaled on various things, etc. Foul language is common.

I don’t recall hearing anyone clamoring for a new “Hellboy” movie prior to learning about this film being in production or after. It arrived with a thud at the box office, only making $12-million in its opening weekend. That does not bode well for recouping its $50-million budget and for making any sequels. While it isn’t the horrendous mess the real critics claim it to be, “Hellboy” is a loud, overstuffed and unnecessary reboot that isn’t much fun.

“Hellboy” gets three stars out of five.

This week, I’ll be review “Breakthrough” for WIMZ.com.

Also opening this week:

Disneynature Penguins—

The Curse of La Llorona—

Listen to The Fractured Frame for the latest news in TV, streaming and movies, available wherever you get podcasts. Follow me on Twitter @moviemanstan and send emails to stanthemovieman123@gmail.com.

Review of “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter”

Alice (Milla Jovovich) emerges from the bunker under the White House to a destroyed Washington D. C. Stumbling amongst the ruins, Alice hears a noise and follows it inside a building. There she finds a computer printer spitting out “Hello Alice” over and over again. The hologram of the Red Queen (Ever Gabo Anderson) appears and tells Alice the human race is down to less than 5,000 people after 10 years of the T-virus ravaging the population. In 48 hours the final enclaves of humanity will be overrun by the infected. There is an anti-virus in the Hive back in Raccoon City that if released in the air would kill any person infected with the T-virus, including Alice. Alice doubts the Red Queen’s word but the computer program tells her all will be revealed once she arrives at the Hive. Alice finds a car that runs and begins the nearly 500 mile journey back to Raccoon City but her car runs over a spike strip and crashes. She begins searching for another mode of transportation and sees an Umbrella Corporation motorcycle under an overpass. She assumes it’s a trap and she’s right as her foot is caught and she is hauled upside down and surrounded by Umbrella Corp. troops. After quickly dispatching the soldiers she hops on the motorcycle and is hit with an electric shock knocking her out. She awakens inside a large armored transport carrier and is met by Dr. Alexander Isaacs (Iain Glen) who she thought she had killed but it actually was a clone. Isaacs is also heading for Raccoon City with an army of the undead behind him. He plans on wiping out any remaining humans in the city. Alice manages to escape and steal another motorcycle and race ahead to Raccoon City. When she arrives she encounters a group of survivors including Claire Redfield (Ali Larter). Alice and the survivors defend Raccoon City from the hordes of undead but see two more groups headed there way. They head for the entrance to the Hive in hopes of releasing the anti-virus and stopping the end of humanity. Meanwhile Albert Wesker (Shawn Roberts) is trying to keep Alice and her friends from reaching the cure and discovering the truth buried deep within the Hive.

“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” is the seventh film in the franchise. Much like the other installments I’ve seen, this one is an incoherent mess filled with choppy action, a meaningless story and logic holes that, if thought about for a few seconds, would cause the entire franchise to collapse into a heap. In other words, the seventh in the “Resident Evil” series is just about as bad as it gets.

One of my consistent complaints about the franchise is the action scenes. The fights are shot with the camera practically between the combatants. This leads to a massive number of edits with individual shots often lasting less than a second. Add to that a camera that seems to be bolted to a paint can shaker and you have a nearly unwatchable and practically nausea-inducing fight scene. At first I thought his might be an effort to hide Milla Jovovich’s lack of fighting skills or bad CGI monsters. Now I believe it is just a preference by director Paul W.S. Anderson. Does he think it looks cool? Is he trying to give his editor a challenge? Is he hoping for some kind of technical award from the Oscars? I’m not sure what the reason is but it makes watching one of these action scenes nearly impossible.

Anderson also wrote the script which probably explains why the story is just as choppy as the action. I suppose with seven films worth of loose ends to tie up it only makes sense that some items get more screen time than others; but Anderson has also thrown in whole new aspects of the story including a twist or two that renders any other plot elements meaningless. Of course the story is the least important aspect of these films. It is after all based on a video game so the visuals, the monsters, the fantasy of it is far more important to get right. The story is merely a scaffold on which to hang the action set pieces. Sadly, as stated earlier, the action is difficult to watch and the story is just as bad.

There are also some major lapses of logic in the movie and the series as a whole. The entirety of human civilization has collapsed. As “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” opens it’s been 10 years since the outbreak of the virus. Despite all this time and the human population being down to 5,000 uninfected people, Alice is still able to randomly find not one but two vehicles that run and still have fuel. Where is this fuel coming from? Even if it somehow managed to be kept from evaporating (perhaps in underground tanks), how does it get pumped into the vehicles? Are there still people manning power stations? Batteries and generators would have long ago run out of charge and fuel but the electricity would need to come from somewhere. Anytime Alice or another character finds a gun, there is also ammo for it. Who’s making the ammo? Does the mysterious person working at the power station then also work in an ammunition plant? I realize I’m once again thinking too much about the minutiae but these things bothered me throughout the film. I suppose this is just a sign of how bad the movie is.

“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” is rated R for violence throughout. I could spend hours describing all the ways people and the infected die in this film but here’s a short list: Gasoline explosion, decapitation, shooting, stabbing, eaten alive, chopped up by a massive exhaust fan, Claymore detonation, multiple bomb blasts, clone-on-clone attack and knife through the head to name just a few. Foul language is surprisingly minimal.

While the title “Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” implies this is the last film in the series, I believe that is a lie…or a misdirection. Watching this abomination of a movie all the way through to its conclusion will show the viewer that more mayhem is likely on the way if the box office indicates enough interest. I personally would prefer a T-virus infection and mutation into one of the winged critters seen in the film. At least then I could fly away from the next catastrophe in this franchise to hit the big screen.

“Resident Evil: The Final Chapter” gets one star out of five.

This week another franchise gets something of a reboot and a love story that crosses from one planet to another arrives it your local multiplex. I’ll see at least one of the following:

Rings—

The Space Between Us—

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