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Overall Rating
3.57

Awesome: 22.68%
Worth A Look40.21%
Average: 17.01%
Pretty Bad: 11.34%
Total Crap: 8.76%

13 reviews, 116 user ratings


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Hellboy
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by Erik Childress

"Comic Book Movie Limbo"
2 stars

My history with Hellboy goes back as far as the announcement of the film’s production. I leave it to my comic book expert friend to fill me in on what’s so interesting about the various comic book adaptations invading screens outside of the classics I already know so well. His excitement peaked my interest. Throw in Guillermo Del Toro behind the camera and the other eyebrow went up. Then I saw the first trailer and I thought the title character looked ridiculous and the premise rather laughable. Further ads hyped up the action and the film’s look and suddenly I was excited. After the opening 15-minute prologue, I was convinced that this could be one of the best comic book films ever made. And if I walked out after the opening credits, I probably could have kept on believing that.

Hellboy you may have guessed didn’t stem from a celestial setting, although you may have confused him as some bad seed spawn of The Punisher or the male lead in the unmentionables corner of your local video store. During Hitler’s fascination with all things occult outside of the Lost Ark or Holy Grail, that mad monk Grigori Rasputin (Karel Roden) was enlisted to open the doors of Hell and unleash unholy…well, hell…on Earth. Lucky for us the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD doesn’t exactly flow like FBI or CIA) was on the case and shut the door just in time. But a little baby demon was brought into our world and instead of being raised by the minions of Beelzebub was put under the care of Professor Bruttenholm (a solid John Hurt) at the BPRD.

A red-skinned devil with He-Man muscles and shaved horns don’t exactly say “next door neighbor” so Hellboy (Ron Perlman) has been contained as best he could when not sneaking out and stirring up the Bigfoot/Loch Ness crowd. Other than his love of cats and pancakes (he only snacks on one of them; this isn’t ALF), Hellboy has been attracted to pyrokinetic Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) who left the BPRD and now shacks up an institution where her silly-looking blue firestarting powers can be contained. (Give me Drew Barrymore or Pyro anyday.) Other members include walkin’, talkin’ amphibian, Abe Sapien (Doug Jones, voiced by way of David Hyde Pierce) and new Hellboy handler, John Myers (Rupert Evans). One grasps that this is the “double A ball” of the X-Men.

For Hellboy’s latest adventure, it seems some of those nasty Nazis are back, resurrecting Rasputin once again in a ritual right out of the original Blade. Not too bad for a guy who was originally poisoned, shot, bludgeoned and drowned. And that was just his first death. Rasputin’s main talent seems to be the power of persuasion as his villainy consists of appearing to good people and whispering alluring alternatives to their lifestyle. Rasputin would likely fit in better on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy or the final act of The Last Temptation of Christ than as our villain of choice for a superhero battle.

Turns out Rasputin is even a more boring villain than Hellboy is as our hero. The battle sequences, one after another, consist of giant tentacle creatures right out of Men In Black. (A final face-off even has Hellboy dispatching of one in the exact same Tommy Lee Jones fashion.) The initial showdown is cool as a warm-up. FX have certainly improved since the MIB days, but these creatures become the central evil rather than the drones they should be leading up to the big boss and thus become too monotonous too quickly.

Matters aren’t helped by the languid stops at exposition inhabited by expressionless characters who are more or less Hellboy’s chief sidekicks. Selma Blair is devoid of a single identifiable facial expression throughout the whole film. I’m aware she’s supposed to be sullen and detached, but its called acting Selma and you were more convincing with a shlong caught in your mouth in The Sweetest Thing. Adding Rupert Evans, the nondescript agent, as our eyes and ears into this universe, I can only guess is there to throw our color schemes back into balance. Since he’s so vanilla, Hellboy’s makeup job stands out that much more and becomes even more convincing.

Hellboy is as magnificent looking a comic book film as I’ve ever seen, but an increased sense of boredom detached me about midway through. Both times I saw it. Hellboy’s fabled sarcastic wit is more than a mystery to me since the quips on display are as lackluster as the action. This is more one step above The League of Extraordinary Gentleman rather than one step below X-Men. As Del Toro said at a screening in Austin, this is “a film made for geeks by geeks.” Although I consider myself proudly amongst the geekdom ranks of film lovers, maybe this is for hardcore geeks satisfied with the page-by-page of each volume and familiar with the entire comic history created by Mike Mignola. Del Toro only had so many minutes to make me a believer. He had me at 15 and completely lost me at 112.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9069&reviewer=198
originally posted: 04/02/04 16:39:40
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User Comments

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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