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hellboy 2
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Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Starring Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Jeffrey Tambor and John Hurt
Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro
Story by Guillermo del Toro and Mike Mignola
Based on the Dark Horse by Mike Mignola
Directed by Guillermo del Toro

IN SHORT: Great visuals. A steady story improvement. [Rated PG-13 for Sequences of Sci-Fi Action and Violence, and Some Language. 120 minutes]

PARENTAL ADVISORY: We advise parents of single digit boys that Hellboy II: The Golden Army is not appropriate for those kidlets. While comic books can be suggestively brutal, a film can only show, or avoid showing the shedding of blood. This film  admirably opts for the latter, with many bad guys being rock-like creatures with none to shed. It is, however, extremely violent. By age 12 or so, boys will be champing at the bit for it, so decide accordingly. Onwards . . .

Long time readers of this site know that Cranky is deep into comics, which is where Mike Mignola's Hellboy first saw the light of day. They also know that Rule One of this site is not to compare to Source Material which, in this case, is easy. We've never read Dark Horse's Hellboy (though we were nuts about Concrete. Maybe another day. . .) and were mixed on the first film. Hellboy II: The Golden Army brilliantly assumes that its viewers knows absolutely nothing about any earlier stories, and brings him/her fully into the Hellboy Universe in its opening sequence, featuring a much younger HB (Montse Ribé) and his "father," Professor Trevor Bruttenholm simply called 'Broom' (John Hurt).

We also learn that, ages before time began, Humans and those not-Humans battled an unWin-able battle. With too many dead, it was settled that Humans would rule the surface worlds of light and the non-humans would have the underworlds. In present time Prince Nuada (Luke Goss), who never liked the deal in the first place and has been in exile for-ever, returns to his father's court to demand that King Balor (Roy Dotrice) again bring war to the surface. When the aging King refuses, well, it isn't pretty. The resulting battle, all an effort to obtain the three pieces of the Royal Crown and activate the long dormant Golden Army, brings devastation and sends Nuada's twin sister, the Princess Nuala (Anna Walton, into hiding on the surface.

The Prince's machinations will bring him into conflict with the members of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D. for short), overseen by an insecure and whiny human, Tom Manning (Jeffrey Tambor). His team of super beings includes the title hero Hellboy (Ron Perlman), the fire controlling love of HB's life Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), empathic aquatic Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) and, just to enforce Manning's insecurity, a new super powered leader for the BPRD. He's Johann Krauss (John Alexander and James Dodd, voiced by Seth MacFarlane, a gaseous being who lives in a containment suit and has some fascinating abilities all his own.

That means an eventual, effects filled visual spectacle. In and of itself, there is an audience for that. Hellboy II The Golden Army improves in that it (finally) starts to build on the emotional backgrounds of the BPRD super heroes. There was a wee bit of that in the first movie. Hellboy II kicks off with Abe accidentally sensing that Liz is pregnant. She of course, never has time to break the news to her guy. Abe also falls in lust with the Princess Nuala (that dirty dog...)

And if that all sounds "too normal" for you fanboys,  stay in your seats for a special appearance by the Angel of Death.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Hellboy 2: The Golden Army , he would have paid . . .


The Hellboy franchise is steadily improving. This in a time when one little slip can kill great plans, it manages to pull through and soldier on

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The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.