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Overall Rating
3.55

Awesome: 22.56%
Worth A Look40%
Average: 16.92%
Pretty Bad: 11.28%
Total Crap: 9.23%

13 reviews, 117 user ratings


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Hellboy (2004)
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by Chris Parry

"One for the fanboys, and those with an ability to go with the pretend stuff"
4 stars

Never read the comic book. Gave up the whole comic book thing when Hollywood destroyed the value of my Punisher, Judge Dredd and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles collections (that is, the cool original TMNT series, not the Archie kiddy version). So Hellboy rolls around and you could cut my anticipation with a chainsaw. But only a chainsaw. Red guy with sawed off horns and a stone hand - gotcha. Okay, let's get this thing over and done with... ooh, nice start. Hey, nice middle. Loving the characters. Digging the effects. WHAT? IT'S OVER ALREADY?! BUT I WANT MORE!

Hellboy (Ron Perlman) comes from a world not dissimilar to ours, with one small twist - the Nazis opened a portal to hell and a small demon boy got through. The government caught him, housed him, educated him and turned him into a crime fighter of sorts, and a reluctant crime fighter at that. To the general public, Hellboy is more myth than reality, and the G-men like to keep it that way, so HB lives his life in a one-room cavern. He's let out under strict supervision to fight bad guys, but he'd much rather be eating chocolate bars, playing with his cats and bitching about his long lost love, a pyrokinetic 'normal' gal called Liz (Selma Blair).

This is the point where Hellboy had me - a superhero who doesn't particularly enjoy being super, a big red guy pining after a messed up mutant, and a world that isn't so obsessed with fantasy that I can't relate. Sure, this guy may start each day grinding back his horns with a Black and Decker angle grinder, and he may be able to punch his way out of the back of a train, but he's got everyday issues to deal with. He's bored. He's nasty. He's bitter. Why, if he didn't get to beat on aliens once in a while, he'd probably start knitting or obsessively watching porn or hitting on 52-year-old women in chatrooms.

Thankfully, his world is conjured by the directorial wizardry of Guillermo Del Toro, who managed to make the turgid Mimic script almost worth watching, and put a nice dark sheen on the Blade franchise with Blade II. With Hellboy, Del Toro made certain to keep the original creator of the character close in the loop, ensuring that even the drooling black death metal T-shirt crowd are whooping up a storm, rather than picking out petty differences between the comic and the flick.

For those who have never read the comics before, take it from a fellow Hellvirgin, this is worth going to see. Essentially a low budget superhero movie (change came back from $60m, reportedly), every cent is splayed across the screen, and every scene looks fantastic. Secondary characters, while given ample screen time, are shelved when the time is right to shelve them, and the star of the show is allowed to walk away with the film in scene after scene.

Ron Perlman was born to be Hellboy, and although the fight scenes are the stuff of Matrix legend, it's the quiet moments that the choice of Perlman really pays off. When Hellboy meets a teenage boy on a rooftop, the kid doesn't freak out and run, he instead counsels Hellboy on his love problems, and Hellboy duly sits down and opens up to the kid. You half expect the little guy to say, "Bitches, man." I really enjoyed the scene, and every other one like it, because the strength of a superhero is not when he's being awesome, it's when he's looking in the mirror and hating what he sees. It's what Joel Schumacher never understood about Batman, and it's why Spiderman and X-Men have worked so well, while Hulk failed miserably.

As a character, Hellboy is far more real than the last handful of Bruce Wayne's, and his side kick, Abe Sapien (voiced by David Hyde Pierce) has plenty of great moments of his own. One major black hole in the film is Hellboy's handler John Myers (Rupert Evans), who was no doubt picked for the role because he draws absolutely no attention away from the main character. The problem is, he's the antithesis of everything else on the screen. Everything you see in Hellboy is huge - the backdrops, the effects, the fight scenes, the lead, and then there's wimpy John trying to be Hellboy's friend. As he's continually spurned, you kind of understand Hellboy's motivation - I wouldn't want to hang out with this doofus either.

But while this film hits the high notes in many areas, it doesn't hit them uniformly. Some scenes tend to drag, and the involvement of a guy called Rasputin seems to do nothing to move the story along. Rasputin is far from the kind of eery bad guy you want in a flick like this, and he manages to bring the audience right out of the film whenever he's on screen. Ditto, Selma Blair seems a little at ends playing opposite CGI, turning in a performance that is far from her best work, though you'd be hard pressed to really give a damn.

This is a big, fun, silly comic book film that sets up this new world perfectly well, delivers plenty of punch along the way, and though the bad guys get repetitive (come on, how many of the same kind of aliens is this guy going to have to kill?), just go with it and have a blast.

I've seen bad superhero movies before. This is not a bad superhero movie. Enjoy.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9069&reviewer=1
originally posted: 04/02/04 17:21:34
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User Comments

3/25/18 morris campbell this is a bad superhero movie imho skip it 1 stars
6/24/14 Haley S. I loved this movie so much! The battles were great, and the casting was good. 5 stars
5/12/11 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
11/26/08 Leo T just 'ok'...not great, not horrible...the I walked out of HB2(Sucked) 3 stars
7/24/08 Shaun Wallner Great Action!! 5 stars
6/01/08 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
12/12/07 Sil so in mimic Del Toro will make ou sleepy, now he's a wizard? make your mind up fucker 4 stars
11/13/07 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
7/08/07 Jubei Gets good towards the end but still an average movie for a so-so character. 3 stars
6/20/07 johnnyfog A serviceable, ok movie. Better than Superman Returns 4 stars
5/15/07 Tracey Chambers not the greatest movie but better than most comic book movies 4 stars
3/17/07 E Kennedy great watch and can,t wait for the sequeal 5 stars
12/24/06 David Pollastrini boring, dull, etc. 1 stars
12/08/06 Stanley Thai A great film with good acting, a good story, great SPFX, and even more! 4 stars
8/10/06 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
3/25/06 Indrid Cold Great visuals + OK action + a story that makes no sense = average 3 stars
11/23/05 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
6/25/05 Eric Rollins Hell of a good time! 5 stars
6/16/05 Cheryl Free Pretty cool. I always like seeing comic books turned into movies. 4 stars
6/09/05 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
4/01/05 failingloser total crap 1 stars
3/04/05 Jon Smith Pretty Bad! 2 stars
2/19/05 Edler Ok, but nothing special. Pretty confusing story also. 3 stars
2/02/05 axe pretty cool, but what's the deal with fire marshall bill in the S&M gear? 4 stars
12/23/04 Vince Entertaining, although drags a bit at times. Better than I expected. 4 stars
12/09/04 Kristina Williams surprisingly good 5 stars
11/17/04 Elizabeth Palladino Not just one of the best comic book adaptations ever, but one of the best films ever made. 5 stars
11/16/04 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
11/03/04 mike im with dave 1 stars
10/29/04 dave id rather watch a romantic comedy with sum pussy in it 1 stars
10/23/04 Hilary Adamson Selma Blair's downward spiral continues from DOWN TO YOU&GUY THING. See VAN HELSING instead 2 stars
10/22/04 T a fine example of a director/fan combo shooting an enjoyable movie 4 stars
10/19/04 Al Guy Very entertaining. Good humor too. 4 stars
10/17/04 Elisheva Rison Hellboy is what X-men should have been, so this movie is greater than great! And funny! 5 stars
10/15/04 eugene HELLfucking crap this movie sux the balls of hellboy himself 1 stars
10/14/04 Jack Bourbon Stupid garbage crap crap. Stinkbomb if there ever was one. 1 stars
9/24/04 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
9/08/04 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
8/28/04 Tristynn I loved this movie. I laughed, I cried.. I felt every feeling possible... wonderful 5 stars
8/28/04 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
8/16/04 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
8/02/04 Phil M. Aficionado Ummmm .... "meh" (Thanks, Bryan McKay) 3 stars
7/29/04 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
6/01/04 James Kustes This is a pretty good comic book movie 4 stars
5/20/04 Jeff S cheesy acting with just so so acting. 2 stars
5/14/04 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
5/07/04 Ross Me and the kids enjoyed this movie. 4 stars
4/30/04 Andrew Rosenberg somewhat confusing but Perleman is great! 4 stars
4/30/04 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
4/20/04 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
4/18/04 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
4/17/04 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
4/14/04 Jose Luis Cantu Guillermo doesn't disappoint with this film. Hellboy rocks! 4 stars
4/14/04 malcolm ron perlman was cool, as usual. i'd like to see him in more roles, w/o prosthetics. 3 stars
4/13/04 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
4/12/04 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
4/10/04 Gobsmack I was expecting worse, I guess.... 4 stars
4/08/04 AntBee It Blows 1 stars
4/08/04 George Jung A pointless crock of shit. 2 stars
4/07/04 Christina utter shit 1 stars
4/07/04 Jean F. Pouliot Thought it was good 4 stars
4/07/04 NoRefill Don't go in with high expectations and you will enjoy the movie. 3 stars
4/07/04 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
4/06/04 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
4/05/04 Lord Jiggy enjoyable, but too much time thumping the same "monster," 4 stars
4/05/04 Titus Fun, but not great. I wouldn't pay full price for it. 3 stars
4/05/04 Mina This movie does not take itself serious, neither should you. 3 stars
4/04/04 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
4/03/04 Jon Great popcorn flick! 4 stars
4/03/04 Lord Chu Awesome, exciting fun. Don't mess w/ HB! 5 stars
4/03/04 AfroFett Fun, fun movie! Summer starts early this year! 4 stars
4/03/04 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
3/30/04 Dr. Collosus Uber-cool 5 stars
3/28/04 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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