Posted by: Dr P | May 11, 2008

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Well dear reader, hasn’t it been a while? After a summer hiatus in Nice and Wales, we finally started to catch up with a few flicks, so here’s the first in a series of reviews.

Having decided that economy is the mother of necessity, Vic and I have invested in those “all you can view” 11.99 a month cards – a bit of a no-brainer really when it’s 6.50 a pop! Plus it now means we’re forced to go to the Bolton cinema, which is far nicer than Bury.

So a 2nd viewing of “The Dark Knight” taken in as a prequel, we grabbed Big G and headed back in to see the sequel to one of the surprise hits of recent times, Hellboy. Now while I’m all for spawn-of-Satan antihero franchises, I can’t help but think it would have been more amusing if the films were about “Hullboy”, who stalks the mean streets of Britain’s 4th largest city (and until recently the largest city in Europe whose football team … etc). Alternatively we could have had the wild tales of “Bellboy”.

OK, back to it. If you’ve not seen the first film (and why not), Hellboy is a demonic creature who works for the Bureau of Paranormal something or other, an organisation that nominally is supposed to be secret, but in reality Hellboy and his companions are all over YouTube (blatant product placement/pretending to be hip there)!

Oh what the heck, this was a right mess of a film! I really loved the first, and with Guillermo del Toro at the helm, this could – and should – have been awesome. The bad guy – played superbly by Luke Goss – is trying to reinstigate an ages old war between humankind and the creatures of the underworld (no, not the French) and part of the plan is to reawaken the mythical “Golden Army”, an unstoppable mechanical force that previously devastated civilisation.

As part of this masterplan, he has to kill his father, at which point the filmmakers could have played up to Luke’s heroic “Bros” origins and let him say … “Father, I owe you nothing”. If that had happened, I would quite possibly have stood up and applauded right there in the cinema (and might still be clapping now), but sadly it didn’t, and despite some particularly flashy sword play … that was about as good as it got!

Enter “Red” and his cronies, who of course are desperate to stop the end of the world (as you would be), and discover that the big nasties are secretly holed up in a subterranean city which is oddly located right underneath Giant’s Causeway. In a bizarre twist, which I can only assume is a bit of an Irish financial mistake, they never once show the GC (location filming being expensive), but they do employ enough CGI to break the national bank of Ireland.

There were some neat touches in this movie, for example the “tooth fairy” creatures which are in the opening scenes, and Goss is exceptional. Ron Perlman does play the title character very well, and his tongue in cheek humour is very good, but it’s hard to root for any of the other characters in this movie. If you just want to go and enjoy some special effects, this is the movie for you, if it’s substance you’re after, go and see the Dark Knight!!

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