Plot: When the Nazis open a supernatural portal in 1944, a baby demon is released from Hell, but is kept in the custody of the FBI years later while raised by the paranormal doctor who found him. Known as ‘Hellboy,’ (Ron Perlman) the demon hunts down other supernatural beings. Present Day, the forces that released him onto Earth return in order to use him for his intended and dark purpose.
Hellboy is like a good version of Men in Black. It opens in whacky fashion as this guy Rasputin (Karel Roden) opens a portal with what I swear looks like the old Nintendo Power Glove. Hellboy is such a silly premise that many directors would screw up, but Guillermo del Toro nails it. Although the story is kind of weak, this is a strong character piece with a ton of likable performances, especially Perlman as the lead. I like how he files down his horns in an attempt to look like everyone else. It’s a subtle element that really illustrates his character. Hellboy is always jokey. Sometimes he’s funny, but when he’s not, the lines are at the very least tolerable. The humor is just right, especially with Jeffrey Tambor’s performance. At a glance, it seems like odd casting, but many other comedic actors would have screwed it up. It’s a Guillermo del Torro film, so of course the visuals are stunning. I especially love when Abe (the fish guy) is swimming in the sewer water that’s greenish, but somehow it still looks gorgeous. There are a few things though hindering this from being great. It’s excruciatingly repetitive, especially with these weird resurrection monsters. They have two separate and long identical fights with Hellboy, and also show up at the end. Do something else! The last act is kind of ‘meh,’ despite a couple bad ass moments. Hellboy’s got great characters, but a stronger story, better villain, and a little more energy in some of these action scenes could have made this great, but it’s a strong film nonetheless.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10 (Very Good)
Category Rankings (Spoilers Throughout):
Best Performance: David Hyde Pierce as Abe Sapien (voice)
-I was driving myself crazy trying to figure out who voiced Abe because it sounded so damn familiar. When I looked up it was David Hyde Pierce, I thought that was pretty cool. Great voice acting. It fit the character perfectly. Why the hell was Abe no where to be found at the end! He was my favorite character.
Worst Performance: Kevin Trainor as Young Trevor ‘Broom’ Bruttenholm
-It’s a small part, but he was such an annoying worrywart. When John Hurt plays him in present day, it’s such a more likable character.
Best Line: “We lead a charmed life.” –Abe to Hellboy after inspecting bugs
-I appreciated this line so much more when I found out David Hyde Pierce spoke it.
Worst Line: “It’s for you!” –Hellboy throwing a ringing pay phone at the monster
-This was the one cringe inducing Hellboy pun. Come on…this movie’s better than that.
-The second time Hellboy fights the resurrection creature at the crowded subway. He spins him around by his tail which was pretty entertaining to watch.
-Why the hell does Hellboy love cats so much! I’m not a big cat person, but I can understand someone owning one or two, but he has like nine cats walking around. And Hellboy lives in a cramped little room. Wouldn’t it smell? WTF.
-It’s a subtle scene, but I like when John Myers meets Hellboy for the first time. It’s a good introduction to the character. Corey Johnson as Agent Clay does a good acting job of humorously introducing the two. It shows the camaraderie Hellboy can have with someone if he warms up to you. It’s just an enjoyable moment.
-The fight between Hellboy and the assassin Karl Ruprecht Kroenen was really disappointing. Kroenen was such a bad ass, and I was really looking forward to him and Hellboy engaging in fisticuffs, but it was just Hellboy blocking his blades for a few seconds and then Kroenen just falls into a Mortal Kombat like pit of spikes. Lame.
-I like the guy Hellboy resurrects as like a tour guide when they go toRussiaat the end. Perlman has great delivery when he goes, “Would you mind holding this guy for a while. He is so negative.” The emphasis on the word ‘negative’ just really cracked me up for some reason.
Bad Ass Moment:
-Oh, it’s not even close. When Kroenen deflects the bullets right back at the guards and slices them up in a matter of seconds…Pure awesome.