Complete with stunning special effects and an equally stunning cast of characters, it’s no surprise that Hellboy is winning the hearts of moviegoers everywhere.
With Hellboy, director Guillermo del Toro delivers a compelling story with exceptional acting from all the performers involved. Starring as the title character is cinematic tough guy Ron Perlman, whose previous roles in such films as Alien: Resurrection and Blade II thoroughly prepared him for his turn as the crimson-faced superhero.
Along for the ride are Selma Blair as Hellboy’s love interest Liz Sherman and veteran British actor John Hurt as Professor Bruttenholm, Hellboy’s adoptive father.
The film begins in 1944. Desperate for a crushing victory against the Allies, the Nazis turn to black magic and ancient relics to unleash unthinkable destruction on mankind. Playing for the bad guys are Kroenen, a sadomasochistic villain with sand running his veins and a knife in each hand, and Rasputin, the bald, diabolical ring leader of Hitler’s supernatural operation.
Under the direction of Professor Bruttenholm, the operation is thwarted by a team of American soldiers. America gains a new ally in the form of an infant demon named Hellboy.
Fast forward to 2004, when Kroenen and Rasputin are reunited and resume their plan of worldwide annihilation. It’s up to Professor Bruttenholm’s Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense and its unusual team of agents to put a stop to the villains’ appetite for destruction and chaos.
Among the more useful agents is Abe Sapien, an amphibious, rotten egg-eating creature with the power to see the events preceding a crime simply by touching a piece of evidence.
Then there’s Liz Sherman, the love of Hellboy’s life. She’s smart, she’s pretty, and she can start fires big enough to destroy an entire city block using her own mental concentration. In spite of her supernatural abilities, Liz manages to turn quite a few heads, including that of Agent John Meyers, the Bureau’s newest agent and biggest competition for Hellboy when it comes to Liz’s heart.
Armed with incredible make-up effects, Hellboy is quite enjoyable to watch. Make-up artist Rick Baker, the magician behind such make-up tricks as Eddie Murphy’s convincingly obese Professor Klump in The Nutty Professor, surpasses his own mastery yet again with Hellboy’s authentic, comic book-like appearance.
While the appearance of Hellboy himself is unapologetically cheesy, the character of Abe Sapien is cleverly depicted in his half-man, half-sea creature costume.
Make-up and acting aside, Hellboy is still worth every penny of the eight dollars and up admission price. It contains a great cast of actors who aren’t afraid to offer performances that surpass the usual acting of the superhero movie genre.
Ron Perlman and Selma Blair give an unexpected yet welcome chemistry to the story of a chain-smoking, cat-loving demon whose origins are darker than his jet-black hair.
There is plenty of comic relief and visually stunning special effects to keep the audience entertained, but in the end, Hellboy goes well beyond the average superhero movie offers a good, old-fashioned movie experience worth remembering.
Marta Rusek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org