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A 2008 action movie directed by Guillermo del Toro

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4 ½- Stars: FUN and Entertaining--Can't Smile Without HELLBOY!!

  • Mar 9, 2009
Rating:
+4

I loved the original "Hellboy", it was quite a good translation (but he looks more human in the movie) to the highly successful comic series by Mike Mignola. The original film was scrappy, clever, comical, slimy, action-packed but above all, it had Heart and Soul. The original was a movie about destiny and choices; "What makes a man a man?" Boy, that is one awesome phrase. This summer's sequel, "HELLBOY 2: The Golden Army" may have all the original film's qualities but somehow, you feel it holding back a little bit and it seems to try to fulfill more genre requirements and contains more straight-forward "geekiness" than the original. Guillermo Del Toro returns at the helm along with Mike Mignola as co-writer; this sequel is a very enjoyable ride.

Hellboy (Ron Perlman) is having a ball. He has an intimate relationship with Liz (Selma Blair), he has a lot of cats, an unlimited supply of candy and cigars, and he watches a ton of television. Sure, he has the usual supernatural tussles as part of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense, but life is good for Big Red. However, an ancient threat is poised to be awakened by an exiled Prince Nuada (Luke Gross). The Prince intends to awaken the so-called "Golden Army" composed of self-generating mechanical soldiers to take vengeance upon humanity. It's up to Big Red with the aid of familiar faces Liz and Abe Sapien, along with a new comer named Johann Kraus (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) to try to stop the impending war. But that's the least of Hellboy's issues, didn't I mention he has a girlfriend?

                  Selma Blair and Ron Perlman in "Hellboy II: The Golden Army."

                  Ron Perlman in "Hellboy II: The Golden Army."

                 Thomas Kretschmann as Johann, Ron Perlman as Hellboy and Doug Jones as Abe Sapien in "Hellboy II: The Golden Army."

Guillermo Del Toro is a great storyteller. "Pan's Labyrinth" was without a doubt one of the most groundbreaking foreign films ever produced and this is Del Toro's next film after that success. Del Toro seems to have a tiny obsession with the supernatural and it shows. However, this film seems to come straight from the Hollywood oven but it didn't limit his imagination and creativity. This sequel seemed too poised to fulfill genre expectations that the heart of the original film may have been left a little behind. I said "a little", I didn't say by a lot.

It is fairly obvious that this film had a larger budget than the original film. The sequences had more action and the special effects is nothing to sneeze at. The cast is an outrageous bunch of characters with amazing make-up. When I saw the "hidden" world of supernatural creatures, I thought I was in a Jim Henson movie. I haven't seen this much Fantasy elements compressed in one movie in awhile. With Guillermo's larger budget, we get to see the man's visual ambitions. The "Golden Army's "appearance itself borders on the ancient and the modern, and the movie is an overload of eye-candy visual effects that exceeds the original that it almost overshadowed the film's main concept. 

                Luke Goss and Ron Perlman in "Hellboy II: The Golden Army."

                  A scene from "Hellboy II: The Golden Army."

                      Ron Perlman in "Hellboy II: The Golden Army."

Thankfully, "Hellboy 2" still has the same feel when it regards to its clever script. The dialogue is quite comical at times and there is quite an amount of humor dispersed throughout. Also, the film still has a heart and soul. Hellboy is a demon, an offspring of a major demonic entity destined to destroy the world. As such, he is not human, he is not "Iron Man", whose heroic attributes can easily be developed. Hellboy does what he does by choice, and while Tony Stark can be admired, Hellboy is hated by the very people who has chosen to protect. The film's powerful morality and humanity is on display when ordinary folks misunderstood Big Red's actions. The moral dilemma; that he is one of the "forgotten" beings and humans will always turn their back to Hellboy in the end is very involving. Yet, he still does his best protect humanity from the things that "go bump in the night". Liz (Selma Blair) is Big Red's anchor though all of this and provides him with the will to believe in what he does. Love also plays a key role not just in our main couples' lives but that feeling creeps up on "Blue" as well. (Abe Sapien)

The film has more action sequences than the original. The fights are cleverly executed and stay within the realm of comic book action. Big Red loves to "talk" while he fights and Ron Perlman does an outstanding job as our hero. The man is perfect as the beer-drinking, cigar smoking, candy-devouring hero. The "quippy" one-liners give the main character a lot of depth despite all that make up. The main antagonist, Prince Nuada seems to have stolen all his moves from a Hong Kong Martial Arts film. Maybe he went to study in the Shaolin Temple while he was in exile? I was waiting on someone to make a remark like that. Johann Kraus also adds a lot of new energy and "misty" charisma to the film's proceedings. 

                         Jeffrey Tambor and Doug Jones in "Hellboy II: The Golden Army."

                        Selma Blair in "Hellboy II: The Golden Army."

                        Ron Perlman in "Hellboy II: The Golden Army."

Despite some flaws and its fixation on goblins and monsters, "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army" stands as a solid sequel. The film seems so bent on trying to exceed the original's special attributes that it almost lost its spirit. Guillermo del Toro and Mignola are to be commended that despite the overload of certain expected genre elements and fantasy tangents, the film still managed to stand on its own. I almost became concerned that all I came to see were a bunch is visual effects and people in rubber suits but the filmmakers still managed to put together a charming, clever, action-packed "popcorn" extravaganza.

At times, goofy and a lot of times also dramatic, the film nonetheless never loses its forward momentum. "Hellboy 2" comes with a highly recommended rating from me. The film has a ton of sci-fi/fantasy elements to spare but certain key ingredients including its energy prevent the film from becoming mediocre. This sequel may be more fun to watch than the original but with its predecessor's more "human" approach, I still found the original "Hellboy" slightly better. This sequel's sense of purpose and humanity, the humorous moments and infused warmth in the proceedings make it more than a your usual "super-hero film".

"I just can't Smile without you…" (that song is so catchy!)

Highly Recommended! [4 ½- Out of 5 Stars]

4 ½- Stars: FUN and Entertaining--Can't Smile Without HELLBOY!! Can't Smile without you... rock monster the prince Abe with the princess Gang's all here 4 ½- Stars: FUN and Entertaining--Can't Smile Without HELLBOY!!

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August 01, 2010
I loved the first one as well, but yeah this one felt like it held back a little
 
March 16, 2009
Ah, Movieman, but Del Toro showed Lucas how the Cantina scene Should have been done!
 
March 13, 2009
Woo, I worked on this film's premiere in Westwood last summer, but was ultimately disappointed by Del Toro's latest after the masterful "Pan's Labyrinth." "Hellboy 2" felt like a replication of so many other movies Del Toro loves; you can see elements of the Star Wars cantina scene and anime-"nature creatures" in the form of the...giant green nature creature. The plot was very standard: "evil guy must takeover the world! can Hellboy stop him???" but at least Del Toro's "tiny obsession" with fantasy kept me fairly entertained. I just think, like the first Hellboy, this one needed more substance, because when Del Toro combines substance with visual spectacle he triumphs. I have faith that he can pull off "The Hobbit" (and it's supposed sequel, lol)
March 16, 2009
Good point, Movieman. I think Del Toro definitely elevated all expectations for his films after "Pan's Labyrinth". Yeh--the Hellboy franchise is pretty much standard (then again most comic book movies are) and you are right of course that his movies are pretty entertaining. Have you seen "Chronos"? as for the cantina scene, Karen (QueenBflix) has something to say about that...LOL
 
March 11, 2009
I just loved this film because it showed George Lucas what aliens etc should really look like. I couldn't have been happier with all the goblins and monsters--though Prince Nuada and his people made me think a bit too much of LORD OF THE RINGS for some reason. Speaking of which, I guess we'll have to wait a long time for Del Toro to do another HELLBOY since he's tied up with THE HOBBIT.
March 13, 2009
wwhhaatt??? Del toro's doing "The Hobbit"?! that might be awesome!
March 16, 2009
Yeah. I heard sometime ago from a quasi-reliable source that Jackson had pulled out of the project and the Del Toro was taking over with Jackson's blessings.
 
March 09, 2009
I liked the first "Hellboy", but for me the second one was just a rehash. And some of the humor in this film was too similar to what I remember from Saturday morning cartoons. The fight between Big Red and Krauss was embarrassingly immature, even for my tastes. I love del Toro's visual sensibilities and I think that he's got great skill at telling fantasy and horror stories ("Pan's Labyrinth" was amazing, though you already know that), but I think he should stay away from comic book films. He just doesn't take his subject matter seriously enough when it comes to comics and with "Hellboy", in particular, he fails to grasp the ironic humor that is so prevalent in the books by Mignola. I may try to get around to reviewing the HB films later this year, but I'd like to re-read some of the comics to better prepare, but (gasp!) I don't actually own any, I've only borrowed them from a friend.
March 10, 2009
You brought up some interesting points, Count. I do agree, I think Del Toro may not be taking the medium of comics too seriously but you have to remember--he directed "Blade 2" which is one of the best comic adaptations in my opinion. I think he went a little overboard with the budget in Hellboy 2. Too bad this came out only a week before "The Dark Knight" which resulted in its less than stellar box-office take. I still love the first "Hellboy"..have you seen its director's cut? better than the theatrical release! I only read one HB mini-series but I think Del Toro wanted the movie to be more "family-friendly". I still like the franchise, a lot fo fun to see.
 
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More Hellboy II: The Golden Army reviews
review by . February 26, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
More
I saw Hellboy II:  The Golden Army when it first came out on DVD.  I originally planned to see it in theaters, but was unable to due to work.  When I finally did get to see it, I was charmed by its perfect blend of humor, action, and brilliant creatures.  Now I am finally getting around to reviewing it.      The film opens with a young Hellboy (portrayed by Montse Ribe) being told the legend of the Golden Army, an indestructible army created by a goblin for …
review by . May 07, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I wasn't crazy about Hellboy. This sequel Hellboy II: The Golden Army [Blu-ray]is a bit better, but still suffers from similar problems. The special effects - trolls, elves, etc - just didn't look that realistic to me. The plot was again pretty silly, but at least the villains were better. If you liked Hellboy, you'll probably like Hellboy II: The Golden Army [Blu-ray] better. If you didn't like the first one, this one's probably not worth your time.
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Great special effects great movie you will enjoy this just as good as the 1st one
review by . February 27, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Guillermo del Toro is the perfect director to bring the characters and events of Mike Mignola's horror comic Hellboy to the big screen, and manages here in the sequel to the mostly satisfying Hellboy to create a fully realized and seamless vision of a fantastic underworld that overlaps with the everyday. Del Toro's unique sensibility, that combines a strong sense of whimsy and a keen eye for the macabre, matches precisely the story of an orphaned demon from Hell, raised by a kind-hearted gentleman …
review by . March 26, 2009
Now my feelings are quite different towards the first Hellboy film. I have to admit that although it did have its moments, I found myself becoming bored during the movie. The action sequences were the only relief I felt as when we entered into the emotion sequences I simply found my mind drifting. Guillermo Del Toro's work was completely alien to me until the first Hellboy, now although I did enjoy the original I didn't have many high hopes for the sequel. I guess when he entered into the Hellboy …
Quick Tip by . August 26, 2009
Not quite as good as the first film and a little too similar to del Toro's "Blade II", this sequel falls into mediocrity and lacks a heart.
review by . November 15, 2008
Fans of dark fantasy movies will definitely like this one. If you take Pan's Labyrinth and add more creatures, and then give it an injection of humor, and sprinkle some Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, some Fantastic Four, and a little Lord of the Rings, and last of all let Neil Gaiman put the finishing touches, you'll probably get Hellboy II or a reasonable facsimile thereof.       Short Attention Span Summary (SASS):     1. Humans and mythical …
review by . August 12, 2008
I am not a comic book super hero fan nor did the first Hell Boy made aparticularly good impression on me.  I suppose the reason I went to seeHell Boy II is for the fact Guillermo del Toro, the director of Pan'sLabyrinth is directing the movie, and hence, there would be interestingfantasy characters.    The movie sets thestory with the bedtime story read to young Red: the origination of theGolden Army.  I thought the depiction of the war using wooden figurinesworked …
review by . October 21, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Here we have the sequel to the first Hellboy film. It's one of those rare sequels that exceeds the original in almost every way. The acting is quite good, the makeup and costumes are spectacular (and will probably get an Oscar nomination). The pacing is great, and the story is reasonably compelling.    All of this, however, takes a backseat for me when compared to the incredibly beautiful scenes put up onto the screen by director Guillermo del Toro. Here is a man who, as previously …
review by . October 14, 2008
Before going to see HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY, my wife and I sat down a re-watched the original HELLBOY with our 15 year old daughter, because she had not seen it. I truly enjoyed seeing the original film again after a few years, and was once again quite interested in the trials and triumphs of "Red", "Blue," "Liz" and all the others.     So the next night, we went to see HELLBOY II, and frankly, I was nearly blown away. It's a far superior movie. Everything the first film …
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About this movie

Wiki

After an ancient truce existing between humankind and the invisible realm of the fantastic 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 of creatures. Now, it’s up to the planet’s toughest, roughest superhero to battle the merciless dictator and his marauders. He may be red. He may be horned. He may be misunderstood. But when you need the job done right, it’s time to call in Hellboy (Ron Perlman). Along with his expanding team in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense—pyrokinetic girlfriend Liz (Selma Blair), aquatic empath Abe (Doug Jones) and protoplasmic mystic Johann—the BPRD will travel between the surface strata and the unseen magical one, where creatures of fantasy become corporeal. And Hellboy, a creature of two worlds who’s accepted by neither, must choose between the life he knows and an unknown destiny that beckons him.
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Details

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Genre: Action, Adventure
Release Date: 11 July 2008 (USA)
DVD Release Date: November 11, 2008
Runtime: 120 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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