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HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY REVIEW

Director Guillermo Del Toro’s 2004 “Hellboy” was based on the popular Dark Horse comic series by Mike Mignola about a demonic cigar chomping superhero and it was an inventive and funny movie with a standout lead performance by actor Ron Perlman. While the film didn’t light the box office on fire (It pulled in 55 mill in ticket sales) it gained popularity on DVD and cable. Four years later comes HELLBOY 2: The Golden Army, an ambitious but flawed follow up with a bigger budget and higher expectations. Hard core fans of the character will get their money’s worth but the everyday moviegoer expecting to see what this universe is all about might be a little perplexed.

Here Del Toro tones down the humor somewhat and pumps up the fantasy portion of the story, making this feel at times like an extended cut of his Oscar nominated “Pans Labyrinth.” There’s a much broader mythology on display here than in the first installment with a whole array of supernatural allies and villains on hand. Unfortunately, character development is far from a priority. The story is as follows: an ancient truce has been broken unleashing big trouble on humanity by releasing a golden army led by long silver haired Prince (Luke Goss) set out to take over the world. Meanwhile, Red (Hell Boy) is suffering from some inner turmoil dealing with public acceptance and family squabbles with his pyrokinetic girlfriend Liz (Selma Blair). The director packs the film with trolls, warriors, fairies and monsters, and at times it seems like a bomb went off in a CGI factory. There’s a few amusing bits; one involving a Barry Manilow song and a big action sequence where Perlman gets to utter the line “You woke up the baby,” while holding a newborn in one hand and a huge gun in the other. Over all I wish Guillermo had spent at least half the effort on a tighter, more focused, storyline as he did with the highly inventive visuals which are pretty much non-stop throughout. I must admit I’m a traditionalist when it comes to movies and the word “visionary” only has true meaning if it’s backed up by its story telling. So while I didn’t like this second installment quite as much as the first, I do look forward to a third entry in this franchise since, despite the story telling, problems I love Ron Perlman in the title role.

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July 14, 2008 - Posted by | Reviews | , , ,

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