In this routine direct-to-video action derby, which spans the globe and runs through Norris's acting gamut in record time, the producers crossbreed a supernatural chiller with a homicide potboiler while just barely managing to keep action aficionados from mutinying in their seats.
In a prologue, Prosatanos (Christopher Neame), the Devil's emissary, is understandably peeved to be sealed up in a crypt in 1186 A.D. Although his trusty Luciferian scepter is broken and scattered round the globe, Old Scratch's messenger boy is resurrected when some 1951 grave robbers disturb his
In the present, detectives Shatter (Chuck Norris) and Jackson (Calvin Levels) tangle with the creature of darkness after the corpse of an antique weapons' dealer sails onto their patrol car minus its heart. The dropped business card of another antiquarian connection of Prosantanos leads the cops
to archaeologist Leslie Hawkins (Sheree J. Wilson), assistant to Dr. Lockley, which is the cover identity for Prosantanos. The slaying of several religious figures drives Shatter's investigation to Israel, the site of Dr. Lockley's latest dig. Gathering his sword fragments while he may,
Prosatanos/Lockley impales an antique dealer on a scepter that has been proven inauthentic and slays a holy man interrogated by the Yankee policemen. Breaking into Israeli police files, Shatter is soon astonished to learn that Leslie is a princess and that Prosatanos requires royal blood to summon
up Armageddon with his pieced-together weapon. Attacked by devil-worshippers, Shatter and Jackson circumvent the blood sacrifice and vanquish Prosantanos by spearing him with his now-intact scepter.
Suffering from too many slow-mo combat brawls and an over-abundance of locales that distract from the thriller's momentum, HELLBOUND is resolutely tedious. While the special effects are convincing, the film is flat-footedly helmed and slovenly developed once the devilish concept is in place. Do
viewers really benefit from a prologue that is so detailed it could be released as a separate short subject? Is it necessary to wallow in the now formulaic LETHAL WEAPON buddy-buddy shenanigans that characterize the relationship of Shatter and Jackson? What the film should have chosen instead of
tiresome conventions was a scenario pitting a super fiend against a super investigator, but Norris only thinks with his feet. Even in the action department HELLBOUND needs a transfusion of virile surprise. As it stands, the flick's climactic face-off is as scary as a charity match between Norris
and a WWF star billed as the Scourge of Satan. For the non-discriminating, HELLBOUND is marginally more throat-clutchingly exciting than an episode of Norris's TV show "Walker: Texas Ranger."(Graphic violence, nudity, profanity, adult situations.)
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- Released: 1995
- Rating: R
- Review: In this routine direct-to-video action derby, which spans the globe and runs through Norris's acting gamut in record time, the producers crossbreed a supernatural chiller with a homicide potboiler while just barely managing to keep action aficionados from… (more)