Anthony's Film Review

Hellboy (2004)

Another comic book hero comes to life in an entertaining sci-fi action movie...

Hellboy is another one of those sci-fi action movies based on comic books. But it's not exactly a typical comic book-based movie. For one thing, the source is not Marvel or DC Comics, but rather Dark Horse Comics (the same publisher of Frank Miller's Sin City). Also, the title character is not someone who is immediately seen as being on the side of good, like Superman and Spider-Man. Rather, it's someone whose place of origin is literally Hell itself, yet is nurtured on the side of good and becomes a hero for humankind. By turning a conventional idea (demons are absolutely evil) upside down, something new and interesting could come out of it.

As the film's prologue illustrates, Nazis in World War II are desperate enough to seek extreme paranormal methods for power in warfare. They open a portal to Hell, but the plan doesn't go accordingly because the Allies strike while the portal is open. Although the operation against the Nazis is a success, one thing from Hell has entered our world. Thankfully, it's relatively harmless, because it's a baby red demon. And because it's only a baby, the Allies comfortably decide to raise this creature, which they call Hellboy, as their own.

Sixty years later, Hellboy (Ron Perlman) is now a grown demon with physical strength and a personality of toughness. He is serving in a government agency as a monster hunter, one who must maintain secrecy even as the rest of the world believes Hellboy exists. His allies include an occult expert named Professor Trevor Broom (John Hurt), an FBI agent named John Meyers (Rupert Evans), and an intelligent amphibian-like creature named Abe Sapien (Doug Jones). There is also a character who had been part of the team but longs to be out in the real world: a woman named Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) who has the ability to conjure fire from her hands.

The action in this movie is pretty good. It's what you expect in a typical action movie. Now, I should note that I'm not talking about a movie that has several heavy action scenes throughout. Rather, Hellboy has a couple of light action scenes in the beginning. Even the action in the climax feels more low-key than an epic battle laden with explosions and special effects. Basically, if you like an action movie that considers story to be just as important, if not more so, than the action, then you should enjoy this one. You'll also like it if you appreciate protagonist characters who are tough as well as a bit sarcastic and funny, because Hellboy is certainly that.

Overall, this movie is not bad. Not incredibly great, but still worth seeing if you like two hours of a good comic book adaptation. I enjoyed the story, the action, and the overall dark atmosphere of the film, not to mention Hellboy himself. Ron Perlman certainly is a good choice for the title character, and Guillermo del Toro has done a decent job with writing the story and directing the movie. The result is an interesting movie with an interesting protagonist. Demons from Hell have never been so cool.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Hellboy, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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