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Overall Rating
3.57

Awesome: 22.68%
Worth A Look40.21%
Just Average: 17.01%
Pretty Crappy: 11.34%
Sucks: 8.76%

13 reviews, 116 user ratings


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Hellboy
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by MP Bartley

"A curious creature."
3 stars

It's easy to spot the appeal of Spider-Man or Batman. Geeky teenager and wounded vigilante respectively, crossed over with various creepy crawlies. Even lesser superheroes like DareDevil can have their own niche appeal because of their disabilities. But where does Hellboy, a huge red-skinned demon with snapped of horns and a concrete hand come into it? Who the hell wants to see a film about that?

Hellboy came into being at the backend of WW2 after the Nazis tried to open a gateway into another universe to let loose all manner of beasties on their side. They were stopped right at the last by a group of Allied soldiers lead by a scientist Bruttenholm (John Hurt). Before the portal was destroyed however, something was left behind. Hellboy. Bruttenhom takes him under his wing and fast-forward to the present day where Bruttenholm has an adult Hellboy (Ron Perlman) working alongside several other demons or freaks of nature such as fishman Abe Sapien (David Hyde Pierce) and pyrokinetic Liz Sherman (Selma Blair). Newly co-opted into this supernatural crime-fighting agency (kind of like an extreme X-Men) is regular human Myers (Rupert Evans), to act as an aide/keeper to Hellboy who has passed down into an urban myth. It seems that the Nazis are back and trying to reopen the portal under the orders of a seemingly immortal Rasputin (Karel Roden) and a clockwork assassin.

If all this sounds like a lot to take in, it is which is why Hellboy at times threatens to turn into a cross between 'The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen' and 'Underworld'. It's filled with larger-than-life freaks with only vague explanations as to their backgrounds and histories, and the dialogue frequently falls into mumbo-jumbo about 'portals' 'gateways' and 'reliquaries' without actually making anything clear. And then add to that a climax featuring a huge multi-tentacled CGI beastie ('Deep Rising' anyone?) and you have what could have been something utterly awful.

It isn't however, largely due to two men: Guillermo Del Toro and Ron Perlman. Del Toro certainly has an eye for an action sequence as just when 'Hellboy' threatens to derail itself with an incomprehensible plot and bizzare characters, up pops a crunching action sequence that ranks with the best of Spider-Man, such as a couple of scraps with some tentacled demons in a subway station and the submerged tunnels.

Del Toro also presents us with some concepts that dazzle the eye and fire the imagination. There's a brief but chilling view of the Earth if the Nazis succeed, and although the origins of the clockwork assassin are never explained, it can't be denied that he's a better creation than a thousand CGI tentacles.

And then there's Perlman, turning in one of the most outlandish, yet human superheroes for quite some time. He holds his own in the fights and spits out Hellboy's blue-collar put-downs with relish. He approaches his job vanquishing ghouls and goblins like a bad tempered mechanic approaching a spluttering exhaust. And then there's the oddly touching and endearing human strokes he points Hellboy with. He mopes around like a love-sick teenager around Liz and rubs up against Bruttenholm like a moody teenager, steals beer with his tail and throws tantrums. Thankfully Perlman sells Hellboy totally, which is no mean feat. He more than makes up for the bland Blair and Evans and lack of dramatic power behind the villains.

I may not have totally understood the vagaries and intricacies of 'Hellboy', but I know I enjoyed it, albeit with reservations. Whether the legend and background of Hellboy has got enough to warrant a sequel can only be addressed in 2006, but for the meantime we have an imaginative and ever so surreal starter to enjoy. It's no 'Spider-Man' but it's no 'DareDevil either', it's certainly flawed but undeniably fun.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=9069&reviewer=293
originally posted: 10/12/04 10:45:39
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User Comments

6/23/14 Haley S. I loved this movie so much! The battles were great, and the casting was good. 5 stars
5/11/11 RLan a subpar superhero movie. 2 stars
12/21/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess Not as good as I hoped, but not bad 3 stars
4/10/09 Ionicera A better script/story would have made all the difference 3 stars
11/25/08 Leo T just 'ok'...not great, not horrible...the I walked out of HB2(Sucked) 3 stars
7/23/08 Shaun Wallner Great Action!! 5 stars
5/31/08 Hemlok I enjoyed this so much... I love Ron Perlman as HB, and Doug Jones is just the biz as Abe 5 stars
5/18/08 PAUL SHORTT BIZZARE COMIC BOOK FANTASY WITH A DARK KINETIC POWER 1 stars
4/07/08 AJ Muller Comic pushed into motion; Perlman IS Hellboy. Utterly asskicking. 5 stars
12/11/07 Sil so in mimic Del Toro will make ou sleepy, now he's a wizard? make your mind up fucker 4 stars
11/12/07 Elizabeth Palladino Just like the original comic, the true story is completely in the subtext. Brilliant! 5 stars
10/09/07 breastman I like the look of the sammeal demons.Wish I owned the actual costume for my collection 4 stars
9/13/07 vaib Its a spectacular film 4 stars
7/07/07 Jubei Gets good towards the end but still an average movie for a so-so character. 3 stars
6/19/07 johnnyfog A serviceable, ok movie. Better than Superman Returns 4 stars
5/14/07 Tracey Chambers not the greatest movie but better than most comic book movies 4 stars
3/16/07 E Kennedy great watch and can,t wait for the sequeal 5 stars
12/23/06 David Pollastrini boring, dull, etc. 1 stars
12/07/06 Stanley Thai A great film with good acting, a good story, great SPFX, and even more! 4 stars
8/09/06 Dragon The Artist Pretty good for a popcorn flick;A comic book flick, but barely worth owning. 4 stars
7/02/06 Adrian Entertainment joy. 5 stars
3/24/06 Indrid Cold Great visuals + OK action + a story that makes no sense = average 3 stars
11/22/05 Quigley directing is stylish and acting all right, but the story is downright awful along with CG 1 stars
9/14/05 matt great characters, enjoyable but some cheesy effects and kinda predictable 3 stars
8/18/05 ES Not that good, left with blah feeling afterward 2 stars
7/20/05 Sir Dude Stop making comic book movies. They don't all work, idiots! This one sucks! 1 stars
6/24/05 Eric Rollins Hell of a good time! 5 stars
6/15/05 Cheryl Free Pretty cool. I always like seeing comic books turned into movies. 4 stars
6/08/05 b landers Could have done without it. 2 stars
6/07/05 Darcy They could have done so much more.... 2 stars
5/27/05 Jake Awesome. Just as great as the Punisher movie 5 stars
4/21/05 Colleen Goldrick Entertaining 4 stars
3/31/05 failingloser total crap 1 stars
3/03/05 Jon Smith Pretty Bad! 2 stars
2/18/05 Edler Ok, but nothing special. Pretty confusing story also. 3 stars
2/01/05 axe pretty cool, but what's the deal with fire marshall bill in the S&M gear? 4 stars
12/22/04 Vince Entertaining, although drags a bit at times. Better than I expected. 4 stars
12/08/04 Kristina Williams surprisingly good 5 stars
11/16/04 Elizabeth Palladino Not just one of the best comic book adaptations ever, but one of the best films ever made. 5 stars
11/15/04 Littlepurch Bloody hell (pun there!) how can anyone say anything good about this movie?!?!?!? 1 stars
11/06/04 michaelb14 meyers:what the hell is that thing, hellboy: let me go ask 4 stars
11/02/04 mike im with dave 1 stars
10/28/04 dave id rather watch a romantic comedy with sum pussy in it 1 stars
10/22/04 Hilary Adamson Selma Blair's downward spiral continues from DOWN TO YOU&GUY THING. See VAN HELSING instead 2 stars
10/21/04 T a fine example of a director/fan combo shooting an enjoyable movie 4 stars
10/18/04 Al Guy Very entertaining. Good humor too. 4 stars
10/16/04 Elisheva Rison Hellboy is what X-men should have been, so this movie is greater than great! And funny! 5 stars
10/14/04 eugene HELLfucking crap this movie sux the balls of hellboy himself 1 stars
10/13/04 Jack Bourbon Stupid garbage crap crap. Stinkbomb if there ever was one. 1 stars
9/23/04 Eric I was never a Hellboy fan, this has changed that. 5 stars
9/21/04 Benjamin Spicher Great Character, nice movie. 4 stars
9/09/04 Daveman Visually impressive, but its array of outlandish ideas never seem to gel. 3 stars
9/07/04 JeffK Enjoyable, fun movie. 4 stars
8/31/04 Jack What a disjointed, nonsensical movie. Man did it suck. 1 stars
8/28/04 capitalbliss I loved Hellboy, didn't think I would but it's been my favourite movie this year so far. 5 stars
8/28/04 alien assassin This beats the pants off Van Helsing !!!! 4 stars
8/27/04 Tristynn I loved this movie. I laughed, I cried.. I felt every feeling possible... wonderful 5 stars
8/27/04 Al Guy Excellent costumes and make up. Very good movie. 4 stars
8/26/04 tatum Ending way too hurried 4 stars
8/17/04 Dean Enjoyable, less pc crap than most Hollywood super hero stuff 4 stars
8/15/04 Dallas Moye Decent 4 stars
8/07/04 elmanre i only have to say one thing,this movie has the coolest looking villain of all time,kroenen 5 stars
8/01/04 Phil M. Aficionado Ummmm .... "meh" (Thanks, Bryan McKay) 3 stars
7/28/04 American Slasher Goddess Very good comic book adapation, Perlman rules as Hellboy. 4 stars
7/25/04 Pure RAGE... Selma Blair is hot in this, great acting but needed a better script 5 stars
7/12/04 "Meth Lab" for Dummies Not bad, a few plot holes, Selma Blair (*HOT*) & NEEDS A SEQUEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 4 stars
5/31/04 James Kustes This is a pretty good comic book movie 4 stars
5/19/04 Jeff S cheesy acting with just so so acting. 2 stars
5/13/04 mark Louis Baumgart I laughed, I cried, I wet my pants, what a ride. A just plain fun movie. 5 stars
5/08/04 Anus 1 1/2 hours of this moron fighting Sammel. WTF. 1 stars
5/06/04 Ross Me and the kids enjoyed this movie. 4 stars
4/30/04 Andrew Rosenberg somewhat confusing but Perleman is great! 4 stars
4/29/04 travis weatherhead that movie was so awesome i cant stop watching it the only thing it needs is more monsters. 5 stars
4/25/04 HorrorScribbler Very comic-booky adaptation (good for me, bad for wife.) 4 stars
4/23/04 CATHY WEL ITS SO!!!NICE MOVIE!!!IT QUITE SCARY!!!! 5 stars
4/19/04 YeahBoi Perlman heart of story 4 stars
4/18/04 Alex It has action, romance and comedy. This is a fun movie for everyone. 4 stars
4/17/04 vagile yawnfest 1 stars
4/17/04 kingchris5000 the plot was garbage except for the mean big red machine(ron Perlman of corse 3 stars
4/16/04 Steve Stupid eye candy with no redeeming qualities. Gives the comic-based movie genre a bad name 1 stars
4/15/04 Jeff MacIver Bloody good fun. The characters were pitch perfect . 5 stars
4/13/04 Jose Luis Cantu Guillermo doesn't disappoint with this film. Hellboy rocks! 4 stars
4/13/04 malcolm ron perlman was cool, as usual. i'd like to see him in more roles, w/o prosthetics. 3 stars
4/12/04 Darren Shea Possibly the most faithful comic-book-to-screen adaptation, ever. Fun from start fo finish. 5 stars
4/12/04 jarsch This movie rocked! Lovecraftian horror and cheesy, one-liner sci-fi rule. 5 stars
4/11/04 Kzoo_gal Perlman was perfect! 5 stars
4/11/04 Wildcarde1 Alot of fun not as much action as i expected but great humor and fun 4 stars
4/11/04 Anus 2 hours of Helloby fighting Sammel? What kind of shit is this? 3 stars
4/11/04 DM Not great, but a faithful and funny adaptation of a great comic book 4 stars
4/10/04 jcjs fun, awesome, loved it, lighten up, better than x-men, as good as 'Men in Black' 5 stars
4/09/04 Gobsmack I was expecting worse, I guess.... 4 stars
4/07/04 AntBee It Blows 1 stars
4/07/04 George Jung A pointless crock of shit. 2 stars
4/06/04 Christina utter shit 1 stars
4/06/04 Jean F. Pouliot Thought it was good 4 stars
4/06/04 NoRefill Don't go in with high expectations and you will enjoy the movie. 3 stars
4/06/04 Cameron Slick Fun, engaging lasting ride with some interesting characters in a nice-looking adaptation. 4 stars
4/06/04 Duckman Perlman delivers the goods. 4 stars
4/05/04 blaise A good comic ruined by continuity and poor writing 2 stars
4/05/04 Billmz A poor derivative of Ghostbusters, X-Men and Men in Black. 2 stars
4/05/04 Michaelb14 "it's my job" perlman is great is as the reluctant smartass hero 5 stars
4/04/04 Lord Jiggy enjoyable, but too much time thumping the same "monster," 4 stars
4/04/04 Titus Fun, but not great. I wouldn't pay full price for it. 3 stars
4/04/04 Mina This movie does not take itself serious, neither should you. 3 stars
4/03/04 Morally Sound Great fun at the movies. Hellboy is an adventure like no other. 4 stars
4/03/04 Vicious Excellent comic adaptation, as loyal to the comic as it should be, and great film. 5 stars
4/03/04 Wolf Very fun movie. I even cried a little at the end. 5 stars
4/03/04 Zefram Mann Wow, great stuff. Perlman manages to really act under all that makeup. 4 stars
4/02/04 Jon Great popcorn flick! 4 stars
4/02/04 Lord Chu Awesome, exciting fun. Don't mess w/ HB! 5 stars
4/02/04 AfroFett Fun, fun movie! Summer starts early this year! 4 stars
4/02/04 da hood horseshit! 1 stars
4/02/04 Brian i was honestly surprised 5 stars
3/30/04 Ganny The movie lives up to the wonderful comic 5 stars
3/29/04 Dr. Collosus Uber-cool 5 stars
3/27/04 Ray Good as hell !!! 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  02-Apr-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 19-Oct-2004

UK
  02-Sep-2004 (12A)

Australia
  19-Aug-2004 (M)




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