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April 12, 2019

Hellboy (2004) --- “Here To Protect, But Sent To Destroy. Time To Give Evil Hell”

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Hello, Movie Buffs!
     In 1944, at the end of WW2, the Nazis make one final attempt to use black magic to aid their dying cause. On an island in Scotland, Nazi officers Karl Ruprecht Kroenen (Karel Rodan) and Ilsa Haupstein (Biddy Hodson) along with the aid of the legendary Russian mystic Rasputin (Karel Rodan) create a special dimensional portal machine that will summon a powerful demon set to bring about the apocalypse. However, when their plans are interrupted by Professor Trevor “Broom” Bruttenholm (John Hurt) and the Allies, they accidentally summon a red human-demonic half-blood baby. Rather than kill him, Professor Broom decides to adopt and raise him as a son, naming him Hellboy (Ron Perlman). Years later, Rasputin and zombie versions of Kroenan and Illsa are making a second attempt to summon the demon god to Earth. Now it’s up to Professor Broom and the Bureau for Paranormal Research Squad, a team of supernatural misfits lead by Hellboy, to stop them. As the team faces off with deadly demons left and right can they come together in time to save the world? Or will they let their differences stand in the way of stopping the apocalypse?

     DC and Marvel seem to dominate the superhero film industry nowadays but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have to watch their backs. Specifically from Dark Horse Comics (DHC) whose movies include Sin City (2005), 300 (2006), and Hellboy (2004). Although 300 is my favorite project of DHC, Hellboy is my second favorite due to Guillermo Del Toro's excellent direction and collaboration with the original creator Mike Mignola on the story, characters, and visuals.
     In collaborating with the original creator Mike Mignola, Del Toro aims to stay as true to the original source material as much as possible but for cinematic purposes, some liberties had to be taken and the end result was an outstanding sci-fi/fantasy/action film. Now while the film is a good mix of horror, action, and humor, the story itself is simplistic in nature and yet carries a lot of heart that has not always worked for comic book films. Unlike A League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’s humor, which was more like a ridiculous soap opera but Hellboy’s humor is more about one-liners and fun that makes fun of itself. This is a comic book fil that will keep you entertained from beginning to end. The visuals are phenomenal. The cinematography is impressive, the set designs are awesome, and the special effects are so realistic, especial the character makeup. Composer Marco Beltrami (World War Z, Logan) completes the film with a bad-ass score fills in all the little holes that would have shown without it.
     The cast performances were solid. Ron Perlman (Hellboy 2, Pacific Rim) was the perfect person to play Hellboy because he simply was Hellboy. He brought to life the character’s emotions and thoughts that allow the audience to see beyond the makeup and special effects, and see a character that is believable. No one else could have done a better job and his chemistry with pyro-kinetic Liz Sherman (Selma Blair - Legally Blond, Cruel Intentions) adds a much needed romantic element to the film’s story. Doug Jones (Shape of Water, Pan’s Labyrinth) as Abe Sapien almost steals the show and his special effects makeup is my favorite of the entire cast. John Hurt gives a fabulous performance as Professor Broom and his “father-son” chemistry with Perlman is great, while Kevin Trainor is good as a Young Professor Broom. The film also stars Karl Roden, Ladislav Beran, Biddy Hodson, Jeffrey Tambor, Rupert Evans, and Brian Steele who all gave good performances respectfully.

      Overall, Hellboy (2004) is an entertaining comic book based film that is action-packed, humorous, and filled with incredible special effects. While DC and Marvel have dominated the box office and rightfully so, that should still keep a close eye on their competition because Dark Horse Comics (DHC) is a worthy contender so far. Director Del Toro’s collaboration with Mike Mignola, the original creator, allows him to remain as true to the comic as possible while only making the necessary changes that are required for book-to-film adaptations. I highly recommend this film to anyone who likes superhero films, dark films or simply Guillermo del Toro’s work.

Final Vote --- 7.5 of 10 stars

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Movies Similar
Blade: Trinity (2004)
Constantine (2005)
Dredd (2012)
Ghost Rider (2007)
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012)
Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008)
Hellboy (2019)
I, Frankenstein (2014)
Jonah Hex (2010)
Legion (2010)
R.I.P.D. (2013)
Sin City (2005)
Sucker Punch (2011)
V for Vendetta (2006)
Watchmen (2009)

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