Directed by Guillermo Del Toro.
Written by Guillermo Del Toro. Based on the comic book by
Starring Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Rupert Evans and John Hurt.
Release Year: 2004
Review Date: 4/20/04
Damn, special effects are murdering the
In "Hellboy", based on the Dark Horse
graphic novel/comic book of the same name, we get the story about a
devil spawn named Hellboy (Ron Perlman), who appears during World
War II and is raised by an American professor (John Hurt) to fight
against the paranormal for the FBI. In the present day, some
Nazi sicko named Rasputin (Karel Roden) has somehow come back from
the dead to rouse up these nasty lizard-like things to try and take
over the planet. Hellboy, his fellow freak Abe (Doug Jones), a
firestarter named Liz (Selma Blair) and some white guy named Myers
(Rupert Evans) try to stop the Apocalypse before the Nazi and a
couple of his evil friends can make it happen.
I loved the 10-minute intro to "Hellboy";
very tense, well-paced, gives you a premise for good
sci-fi/horror/action on the way afterwards. Too bad the rest
of the film doesn't fly so high. I had read the comic for the
first time last fall; the girl I was dating at the time LOVES "Hellboy"
and gave me a graphic novel to whet my appetite. I'll admit,
the art in the comic is very cool, but the thing about the character
Hellboy--in both the comics and the movie--is that his sarcasm is
very hit-or-miss, and in the movie, most of his one-liners don't
even amuse you. The other thing about this guy is that he is
nearly indestructible, which makes the tension behind his
consistently-imminent death all the more useless. Seriously,
Hellboy is tossed through walls, down shafts, eaten, blown up, and
essentially run over by a subway train during various points in this
movie and each time, he just kind of gets up, dusts himself off and
gives you a quip like "Ow."
Exactly. There's even a point where
Myers turns to Liz and says something like "You've got to help
[Hellboy]...[the lizards] are killing him!" and I was like "Have you
been watching the movie?? He's been whoopin' dat ass all movie
Del Toro, who directed both Perlman and
Roden in "Blade II"
two years ago, is in familiar territory; he's done the Devil ("The
Devil's Backbone"), vampires in "Blade II" and now the devil's
spawn in "Hellboy"; talk about needing a positive role model!
In "Hellboy", Del Toro sticks to the basics by giving us a pretty
violent and bloody PG-13 movie, and it probably could have used more
non-CGI action to make it more interesting. But, as it is,
Hellboy spends most of his time in this movie fighting this lizard
creations, and those fight scenes are loud, louder and ridiculous in
order. This can become boring quickly, and the lack of a
connection between audience and lead character just leaves you kind
When we are left without special effects,
the work of the actors is decent; Perlman seems to be having a good
time, and Evans is serviceable as the wide-eyed novice who strikes
up an uneasy friendship with Hellboy as the film runs along.
The film is never very stale, since it is so loud and gives you one
effects-laden sequence after another right to the end.
Speaking of which, this ending--like many other endings this year,
not a good trend--blows, but at least it wasn't drawn out like last
Bill Vol. II."
Well, at least I only paid $5 to see this
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$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