Hellboy

"Good"

Hellboy Review


You can't help but dig Hellboy the character - born a demon, summoned by Nazis, saved by Americans, raised to fight otherworldly evil creatures, and played by Ron Perlman.

What you feel about Hellboy the movie is an altogether different topic.

Hellboy is the long-awaited adaptation of a cult comic book, with the unlikeliest of heroes (and thus the greatest level of appeal to introverted comic book fans). Hellboy files his horns down to fit in with society (although he's kept out of sight by his handlers, who run a secret government anti-demonic-creature agency called the BPRD), he loves cats, he eats an awful lot, and he's unfathomably strong. He's also fire engine red and, though he looks like a freak, he has managed to have a relationship (left strangely unclear) with a lovely girl named Liz (Selma Blair), who's recently left both the bureau and Hellboy.

The movie throws us into Hellboy's world by showing us his origins during WWII, then jumping into the present. Hellboy's mission today is to stop the evil guy that summoned him to begin with - none other than Rasputin (Karel Roden), the Rasputin, repeatedly reborn and/or reincarnated. With the help of a pair of psychic-powered friends - including the fire-blasting Liz and the half-fish Abe (played by Doug Jones, voiced by David Hyde Pierce) - and his adoptive father (John Hurt), we zip through a rather pedestrian progression of fights between Hellboy and a gaggle of sluglike demons en route to the fulfilling or foiling of a world-crumbling prophecy. (It's X-Men meets Ghostbusters. There's even a keymaster!)

Heady stuff, and it's too bad that director Guillermo Del Toro doesn't make much out of the promising material. The story is straightforward to the point where it often feels like we're killing time as we wait for the final showdown between Hellboy and Rusputin. There's zero doubt how any of this will ultimately end, so we have to make our fun along the way.

Del Toro hits and misses in this regard, with the best moments in the film giving us Hellboy cracking wise over his insecurities (and longing for Liz), not to mention some masterful CGI work. Del Toro's fight scenes are fun for a while, but before too long they start to feel repetitive, as Hellboy does battle with an endless series of demons, all clones of each other. And the most interesting supporting character - Abe the fish man - spends half the film out of commission.

H.P. Lovecraft fans will get a kick out of del Toro's stunning visions of space demons and evil rituals, and it will be a travesty if the film's the makeup department doesn't get an Oscar nomination. Those familiar with del Toro's intricate metal- and model-work in Cronos will get a bigger-budget taste of it here.

In the end, del Toro's focus on the mood and the effects unfortunately causes the characters to suffer. Hellboy the character is a lot of fun, but the bad guys are never very interesting at all. Worse still are the henchmen of the BPRD, which gives us wave after wave of expendable FBI agents instead of unique compatriots. Without anyone to care about aside from an engaging title character, the prospect of Hellboy leading us during Armageddon doesn't sound half bad.

Red or dead, it's all good!



Hellboy

Facts and Figures

Run time: 122 mins

In Theaters: Friday 2nd April 2004

Box Office USA: $59.0M

Box Office Worldwide: $99.3M

Budget: $66M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Production compaines: Revolution Studios, Lawrence Gordon Productions, Dark Horse Entertainment, Starlite Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%
Fresh: 159 Rotten: 38

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Hellboy, as Liz Sherman, as John Myers, as Prof. Bruttenholm, as Tom Manning, as Grigori Rasputin, Brian Steele as Sammael, Ladislav Beran as Karl Ruprecht Kroenen, Biddy Hodson as Ilsa Haupstein, as Agent Clay, Brian Caspe as Agent Lime, James Babson as Agent Moss, as Abe Sapien

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

X-Men: Apocalypse Movie Review

This closing chapter of the First Class trilogy falls into the same trap as The...

Sing Street Movie Review

Sing Street Movie Review

A buoyant celebration of the power of music, this is the third blissfully entertaining musical...

Departure Movie Review

Departure Movie Review

Complex, dark and very moving, this British drama never makes things easy for the audience,...

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Richard Linklater loosely follows on from two of his most acclaimed films with this lively...

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

Our Kind of Traitor Movie Review

John le Carre's novel is adapted with plenty of inventive style into a remarkably personal...

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

The Angry Birds Movie Movie Review

There's nothing particularly memorable about this frantic animated romp, which adapts the iconic phone-app game...

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising [Bad Neighbours 2] Movie Review

While it's amusing and sometimes very funny, there's an air of desperation about this sequel...

Advertisement
Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Florence Foster Jenkins Movie Review

Although this comedy-drama seems to have been written specifically to give Meryl Streep a chance...

I Saw the Light Movie Review

I Saw the Light Movie Review

Writer-director Marc Abraham gets ambitious with this biopic about iconic country music star Hank Williams,...

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...

Son of Saul Movie Review

Son of Saul Movie Review

From Hungary, this year's Oscar-winning foreign film is a remarkably fresh take on the Holocaust...

Demolition Movie Review

Demolition Movie Review

With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas...

Bastille Day Movie Review

Bastille Day Movie Review

An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd...

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.