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Published on July 11th, 2008 | by simeon


Hellboy 2: The Golden Army

hb2 Hollywood is often littered with decisions that in hindsight seem to be utterly insane. For all of the big budgeted films that go on to do huge business, there are films such as “Waterworld”, “Howard The Duck”, “Hudson Hawk”, and countless others that make you scratch your head and wonder who thought they were worth the investment of millions of dollars that were needed to bring them to the big screen.

One such decision that will undoubtedly look bad with the passage of time, was the decision for Columbia not to continue the “Hellboy” film series and allow it to walk away to find a home elsewhere.
Thankfully due to the strength of “Pan’s Labyrinth”, creator Guillmo del Toro who is riding a wave of critical success, “Hellboy II: The Golden Army”, is a step up from the previous film and sets the stage for a potential series of sequels for Universal.

The film once again stars Ron Perlman as the title character, a demon of supernatural origin who was raised by humans and leads a team of gifted individuals in the ultra-secret Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD).

The story begins shortly after the events of the last film, and finds BPRD Director Tom Manning (Jeffrey Tambor), frustrated with Hellboy’s continued flaunting of the rules by posing for pictures and autographs while on missions, despite being sworn to keep himself and the agency a closely guarded secret.

As if this was not enough trouble, Hellboy is having issues with the love of his life Liz (Selma Blair), who is starting to have issues with his gruff mannerisms and slovenly ways.
Unknown to the BRPD a new threat is brewing in the form of Prince Nauada (Luke Goss), who plans to retrieve three pieces of a golden crown so that he may control a fabled army of golden soldiers, and wage war on humanity.

Nauada is part of the mythical world of beings that long ago formed a truce with humanity and have lived in peace. Nauada, who has lived under the rule of his father for centuries, strikes out and sets events into motion which require the BPRD to respond to a threat greater than any they have previously faced,.

With the able help of Abe Sapien (Doug Jones), and new member Johann Krauss (Seth MacFarlane), the BPRD clash with themselves and the forces of Nauada with the fate of the world in the balance.
The new film is significantly better than the previous one, and del Toro has masterfully blended the characters and many interesting sub-stories with solid action, FX, and surprising humor. There is a scene in the film where Hellboy and Abe bond over music and beer to discuss women that is truly classic as is the confrontation between Hellboy and Krauss over leadership.

del Toro is a master at creating world of fantasy and splendor and when he allows the film to venture into this area, the film truly shines. It is during the transition between fantasy and alleged reality where the film has a few rough edges. While it was great to see the characters have a more defined relationship and interaction with one another, it seemed at times that areas for potential gold were glossed over or rushed to get back to the action and FX. There are some great storylines about Hellboy’s relationship with humanity, Liz being caught between two worlds, and many more that I hope get developed more in any future films.

There were times in the film where the nearly two hour run time seemed excessive and dragged, especially leading up to a finale, that did not deliver as big an impact as the setup had hinted at.
That being said, thanks to great characters and visuals “Hellboy II: The Golden Army”, is the rare sequel that is better than the original.
3.5 stars out of 5.

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