What is it that makes a man a man? Is it his origins, the way things start…Or is it something else, something harder to describe? Hey folks I thought this would be a good kick start to Guillermo del Toro week if we tackled a film a great deal of us know, like or dislike, love or loathe. Now without further adieu…This is Hellboy.
Skip to the part where I can kill a spoiler
In 1993, San Diego Comic Con’s second titled comic was released by comic artist/writer Mike Mignola (Wolverine, Daredevil, Power Man and& Iron Fist) Hellboy was a monster, a demon that championed on the side of good and taught Christian morals. Hellboy was contracted by Dark Horse Comics in 1994 and is a title to this day. Mignola stated in a interview for the movie he got tired of drawing men and women in tights, panel after panel and really like making monsters instead. So why not make a monster a hero?
Collaborating with writer Peter Briggs, del Toro and he start hammering through the pages of Mignola’s Red Right Hand of Doom story arc and place a father/son relationship that Hellboy and Professor Broom did not have in the comics. That being said, let’s get to fun! In 1944 on the shores of some remote ruins in Scotland a natural connection of ley lines, the Nazis are attempting to cross a dimensional gate to a realm uncharted by sane men. From a substantial gunfight between US forces of the newly founded Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense and the Nazis, Russian scientist, paranormal expert Grigori Rasputin (Karel Roden of Blade II, Bulletproof Monk, The Bourne Supremacy and The Abandoned) delves in a realm where angels dare not tread and is sucked through the portal, all seems well but Professor Broom points out that portal worked both ways and was open long enough for something else to have gotten through. A search of the premises comes up with a small ape like child, red as a fire engine and a right hand composed of stone. Cut to 2004 and young FBI agent John Myers (Rupert Evans of Sons & Lovers, Fingersmith, Emma and This is David Conrad) entering the world of the BPRD and informed there is much more going on this little blue green planet by Professor “Broom” Bruttenholm (John Hurt of Alien, History of the World: Part I, The Hit, 1984,Beyond the Gates and V for Vendetta). A brief introduction with the aquatic Abe Sapien (Doug Jones of The Time Machine, Men in Black II, Adaptation, Doom and Pan’s Labyrinth) a vault about 8 inches thick is open to reveal the man or demon of the hour, Hellboy (Ron Perlman of Beauty and the Beast, The Magnificent Seven, Crime and Punishment, Cronos, Blade II and Star Trek: Nemesis)
A few issues being in the BPRD, if you do not really have an area of expertise and just a grunt with a gun you have the live span expectancy of a red shirt. You are on Hellboy’s team and we never heard of you? Bye bye cannon fodder. This film with its crane shot, hand held and a fair amount of dolly track with anamorphic scope gives you that chestnut of being there in the action without a fraction of the collateral damage. An enjoyable monster flick, you can show to the kids and they will thank you for it.