HELLBOUND is about Chuck Norris fighting the Devil. Well maybe not the Devil but the Devil's right hand man named Protanos or at least I think that was his name. Protanos was sealed in a tomb during medieval times and was accidentally released in the fifties. After his release he spent the years becoming an archaeologist searching for pieces of a sceptre that will give him power to rule the world. But he made one big mistake. He threw a hooker out a window onto Chuck Norris's car. Whoops.
The beginning of HELLBOUND is surprisingly good for the most part. After we are treated to the comforting CANNON PICTURES logo the film starts off with a king riding a horse with a small army of soldiers armed with crossbows following on foot. A priest is with them and he points to the direction they need to go. He leads them to an old church (I think) where Protanos is conducting a ceremony where he is about to sacrifice a baby prince which will give him his power to rule the earth. This is a pretty exciting scene where soldiers are fighting monster dressed as monks. If a soldier is killed by a monster then the dead body jumps back to life as a monster too. Protanos is pretty good at fighting off the steadfast king and his merry men but he isn't very good at not getting stabbed in the back by an old priest carrying a big stick. So down goes Protanos. He is locked away in a tomb until hundreds of years later he is released by a couple of grave robbers. That is all the exciting stuff, folks. After the promise of a larger more epic film we are then treated to a buddy cop movie that tries it's dangness to not go anywhere as slowly as possible.
Now in modern times we are introduced to Chuck Norris (playing a character named Sgt. Shatter which means they have officially ran out of cool badass names for action heroes.) and his partner Jackson. Jackson apparently has made an important life decision to live out his days as a Whoopie Goldberg impersonator JUMPIN' JACK FLASH style. That is okay though because Chuck likes to dress like Don Johnson from the show MIAMI VICE. HELLBOUND was made in the nineties. Does that mean Chuck is from Canada? Through the course of the movie the two Chicago cops stuck in the eighties get involved in solving a case that takes them to Israel where they eventually discover that Protanos is a demon and overall jerk.
The whole fish out of water story is very unsatisfying. The two cops run around getting in where they are not wanted but nothing ever happens. That is to say that Chuck doesn't kick much butt in HELLBOUND. I think the makers of this film forgot that they had Chuck Norris in their movie. There is a short fight scene in the middle but it feels tacked on and it is not very memorable. The ending does get better with the final confrontation of Jackson and Norris versus Protanos. Poor Jackson is tossed around like the cereal piece in a child's bowl of Lucky Charms. Chuck Norris on the other hand has no problem taking on the ancient powerful demon with his Fists of Punching, his Ferocious Feet of Explosion and his Powerful Beard of.....Stuff. This is a pretty awesome scene that probably birthed all those Chuck Norris jokes that were so popular a few short years ago. You see the movie doesn't build Chuck up to be some super powerful angel in disguise on earth to search for Protanos or have him as a descendant of an ancient race of magical demon hunters. No, he is just Chuck Norris and that is the only fact he needs to beat the Devil's right hand man. I think that is pretty darn awesome..........and hilarious.
Chuck is likable and the main attraction to this film. He just doesn't have that strong of a presence. The problem is that the film wants Chuck to be a cool role model for the kids yet somehow still be a rated R renegade anti-hero. Is this a family friendly film or hard action film? I mean there are at times some gore here and there. And it isn't too pleasant to see a woman tossed out a window and crash land on the hood of Chuck's car. So why did they put an annoying kid in this movie too. No action just some stupid kid that they have to chase around to fill in the running time and conveniently have information needed for Chuck and Jackson to move on to the next scene of talking. HELLBOUND suffers from some really bad ADR too. The hooker I mentioned in the first paragraph of this review is completely ADR'd. Her voice and words don't even come close to matching what she is saying or what she looks like. It is very distracting. Poor Chuck has a few of those moments as well but I'm not going to tell him that.
HELLBOUND was a movie I didn't expect much from so I shouldn't complain too much. It has a strong beginning and ending but the middle is annoying and gets pretty tiresome with scene after scene of talk and buddy cop camaraderie. I kept waiting for those scenes where thugs would show up for no good reason other than to get kicked in the face. But it only happened once. For shame, HELLBOUND. For shame.