Review of 'Hellboy'

hellboy.jpg In the second world war a group of Nazi's headed by Rasputin (Karel Roden) experiment with opening a portal to an alternative dimension on a small island off the coast of Scotland. This failed attempt results in a small red devil-like creature, nicknamed “Hellboy”, slipping through the portal, rescued by a team of American GIs. Flash forward to the modern day and the older Hellboy (Ron Perlman) is now a member of the underground government agency “Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense” (BPRD) who are called to deal with supernatural emergencies. Professor Broom (John Hurt) is the leader of the group which also includes the aquatic psychic Abe Sapien (Doug Jones). The team are called into action when the now-resurrected Rasputin returns to life a hideous creature known as Sammael (Brian Steele) that, when killed, spawns two more…Determined to capture Hellboy and have him open a portal to a demon dimension, bringing the end of the world, Rasputin attacks the BPRD. It will take the entire team to save the world along with the help of Hellboy's pyro-telekinetic and wanabee girlfriend Liz (Selma Blair).

I have to say that Perlman is the iconic Hellboy for me. I am not sure how the new (2019) remake of the film can top his performance as the lovable vivid red devil with one big brick arm who only wants to be accepted into society (even regularly trimming off his horns) despite his quirky love of chocolate bars and cats. Perlman brings his large personality (and presence) along with his charm to the role making us really love Hellboy. He is just like us with our faults and a job he is not entirely happy with. Hurt as Professor Broom brings a certain amount of glamour to the film with his take on the ultimately tragic character dying of cancer. Doug Jones as the odd Abe Sapien is freakishly fish-like and utterly convincing despite the seemingly preposterous nature of his character. As Hellboy's love interest Liz, Selma Blair is amazing as a wolf in sheep's clothing…Don't be anywhere near her when the wolf comes out.

Hellboy looks great with the live action creature effects and action very effective and giving it much more the feel of reality. The lack of blood is somewhat odd considering the amount of violence but they wanted to maintain the PG-13 rating at the box office. Del Toro said he was a huge fan of Hellboy well before he was asked to make the film and you can see his love throughout with the meticulous attention to detail and the effort he put into being true to the comic book source material even down to mirroring specific panels on the big screen.

One of my favourite comic films of all time, I can't see how this version of Hellboy can ever be topped. The sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army sadly did not reach the heights this original did so leave that on the shelf then sit back and enjoy the original…

Rating: “I have absolutely no complaints”

Review Date: 2019-05-24

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro

Studio: Revolution Studios

Year: 2004

Length: 132 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Other reviewed films by Guillermo del Toro:

Other reviewed films by Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson: