Hellboy 2

Created on 31/8/2008

Today we review the film Hellboy II – The Golden Army. It’s great fun and very well directed by Guillermo Del Toro who is clearly a gifted man. His visual concepts are surreal but believable, kind of a Salvador Dali painting brought to life. There’s a direct line in his style from his last release, Pan’s Labyrinth. Again he evidences his ability with characters as well as plot and dialogue, some of which is very witty and all of it light.

The story is, of course, pretty silly, but unlike many films in this genre, still holds together with some coherence. There are some genuinely funny one-liners that are correctly delivered deadpan and are all the funnier for the actors mugging to the camera.

The plot concerns an ancient truce brought about after terrible wars in the mythical past is broken, hell on Earth is ready to erupt. A ruthless leader who treads the world above and the one below defies his bloodline and awakens an unstoppable army consisting of the creatures of fantasy.

Now, it's up to the planet's toughest, roughest super hero to battle the merciless dictator and his marauders. He may be red, horned, misunderstood, but when a job needs doing, it is time to call in Hellboy (Ron Perlman).

Along with his growing team in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Development (The BPRD) - pyrokinetic girlfriend Liz (Selma Blair), aquatic empath Abe (Doug Jones) and protoplasmic mystic Johann.

The unusual anti-heroes who make up the BPRD travel between the earth we all live in and the unknown, unseen magical one, where fantastical creatures become real and Hellboy, a creature of two worlds who's accepted by neither, must choose between the life he knows and a dangerous and unpredictable destiny that beckons to him.

The film’s cast stars Ron Perlman in the title role and he is again excellent as the likeable man from hell. I once wrote a script that was going to star Ron, which sadly didn’t work out, but we talked over the telephone on a few occasions and he’s a great guy, with a super sense of humor that deserves the success he’s now enjoying. Did I forget to mention he is also a terrific actor?

Selma Blair plays the love interest in her role as Liz and does a fine job, and is attractive without being plastic. John Hurt does a fine small cameo and as ever brings empathy alongside his huge acting ability. Doug Jones, James Dodd, Jason Alexander, Thomas Kretschmann and Luke Goss finely round out the cast. The film’s length of 119min could have benefited by some more tight editing, but the trend today seems to be for longer films.

I liked the first Hellboy film but prefer this sequel, now I’ll be looking forward to the third installment.