"Hellboy II: The Golden Army"
Directed by Guillermo del Toro.
Written by Guillermo del Toro and Mike Mignola. Based on the comic book by
Starring Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Evans and Luke Goss.
Release Year: 2008
Review Date: 7/16/08
Let's be clear--I thought the first
"Hellboy" was a dog, and when I saw the
trailer for the sequel, "Hellboy II: The Golden Army", I thought
what most Americans were thinking:
Whose idea was it to make another shitty
special-effects laden action film based on a film nobody saw?
I went back to check, and the first film
banked $60 million...definitely not "gotta make the sequel"
territory. But, based on the strength of Guillermo del Toro's
run the last couple years in direction and production--most notably,
Labyrinth"--the studio types gave Hellboy one more run, and
surprisingly, this sequel tops the original in nearly every
Something tells me that the combination of "Hellboy"
comic creator Mike Mignola co-writing the script (he didn't help
write the first film) and the studio allowing del Toro more creative
visuals is where the evidence lies in explaining the strength of
this film. Hellboy (Ron Perlman, now a mere 58 years old in
real life) is still dating his girl and paranormal cop partner Liz
(Selma Blair) when trouble strikes Manhattan--a long-exiled mutant
prince living below town named Nuada (Luke Goss, who worked with del
Toro and Perlman in
"Blade II") decides to wake up and wage war with the humans, but
he needs parts of a mystical crown in order to command this
nearly-5,000-robot army called The Golden Army...which, strangely,
is housed in a cave in Ireland. (Stick with me, here.)
So, Hellboy and Co. try to find this prince and capture the three
parts of the crown before the prince does...many people die in the
The plot, to me as with all summer films, is
secondary here; what's good is the mix of action, laughs, very cool
mutant creations, Seth MacFarlane doing the voice of German robot
Johann Krauss, and a Barry Manilow duet late in the film.
(Yep, I just said that.) Watching this sequel, I almost want
to go back and watch the first film again, because I thought the
original was awful and so did many, many other people! The
film never gets too bogged down with sap, backstory or unnecessary
angle; much like
Incredible Hulk", "Hellboy II" has a great pace. Jeffrey
Tambor is wasted as the good guy chief, and the film does rely a bit
too much on speeding up action shots to make Perlman look like a man
half his age. But, the effects work and the mutant creations
alone make this film worth a look, and this is my early front-runner
for both Best Special Effects and Best Makeup...
Rating: $9.50 Show
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard