A Black Man’s Review Of
“Hellboy II: The Golden Army”


Movie Biases:
I think I fell asleep on the first one - I’m only here for y’all. Great buzz, though.

Major Players:
Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, writer/director Guillermo del Toro

A bedtime story come true, evil Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) looks to resurrect the fabled “unstoppable tide” of the Golden Army to wrest control of an increasingly depreciating world away from the humans who don’t understand it or the mutants who secretly and not-so-secretly live among them. But not if Hellboy (Perlman), Liz Sherman (Blair), and the rest of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) have anything to say about it…

The Deal:
Ever feel like you’re missing out on something that everyone else seems to get and you don’t know why? With me - and I am about to commit musical heresy here - I don’t get everyone’s artistic fascination with (”He’s a musical genius!”) Prince. I like a few of his songs, but I just don’t get him. I feel the same way with director/auteur Guillermo del Toro, he of “Hellboy” and “Pan’s Labyrinth.” I never saw “Pan’s Labyrinth” nor do I have any desire to. Del Toro trafficks in the world of beautiful grotesqueries of which I am not a fan.

After surprisingly having to defend myself to a rabid “Hellboy” fan yesterday, I looked up my review of the first one to see what it was that I didn’t like about it. Oh, wait - it’s the exact same thing that I didn’t like about THIS one: “The movie is an endless creature feature parade with a lot of senseless violence. As an action junkie who owns DVDs of both “Bad Boys” movies, I’m all for senseless violence. But the special effects suffocate the life out of this movie.”

Well, almost. Del Toro’s homage to the “Star Wars” cantina scene with the Troll Market has its moments. His gorgeous visuals, colors, and art direction are all welcome despite the creatively disgusting world of creepy crawlies he loves to showcase. And, once again, there seems to be a lot of special effects - aided by another competent score by my choice for Musical Scoremaster of the Year, Danny Elfman (“Wanted,” “S.O.P”.) - but to what actual effect?

The rules to this comic book-based world are a little fuzzy with all the otherworldly critters roaming around owning varying qualities of weird, which makes it a little hard to fully buy in. Given del Toro’s obvious commitment to grossing me out at every turn, either you buy in to this world or you don’t; and so far…

“It’s not necessarily Ron Perlman’s fault.” - THE REEL DEAL, “Hellboy,” 2004.

Perlman’s Hellboy is amusing in and of himself, in all his trench coat-wearing, barrel-chested, attention-starved, cigar-chomping, beet-red throwaway charm. He’s still “a blasé, La-Z-Boy of a superhero - comfortable, broken in, and always wants his own space in the front room,” who’s got a goofy-cute, 5th grade, blindly devotional love for Blair’s self-conscious and literally fiery Liz Sherman. Even when the special effects threaten to consume the movie whole, Perlman’s perpetually offhanded delivery and goodnatured snarkiness still makes you give a damn, even if it’s just a little. How can you not feel for a freak spawn of Satan nicknamed “Red” who shaves down his horns and just wants to be loved? If there were more attention paid to the character than to the nonstop special effects pseudo-extravaganza, then THAT would be a movie I could fully get behind. Even the climactic, inevitable mobilization of the Golden Army just feels like stiff, overly CGI-ed fakery. Which would make sense because they’re machines - but still…

Yes, I fell asleep for ten minutes in this “Hellboy,” too. In fairness, it could be due to the fact that I’d been up until 6 AM the morning before. But also, in fairness, it could also be due to the fact that the special effects porn just wore me down. Who are we fooling anyway? Sorry, Prince, sorry, del Toro. “Golden Army” is just a bland appetizer before the real meal coming next weekend. Bring on “The Dark Knight!” Everything else is just taking up space.



Extra medium.

UTC’s resident film critic Edwardo Jackson is the author of the novels EVER AFTER and NEVA HAFTA, (Villard/Random House), a writer for The 213 Magazine, and an LA-based screenwriter. Visit his website at www.edwardojackson.com where his new novel I DO? is available NOW.

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July 12th, 2008 at 12:01 am Elsa Harkins says:

I liked #1!!!! I saw it on DVD and I was pleasantly surprised. I mean it is never something i would’ve chosen but under the ugly it had a lot of heart. I kind of want to see #2 but I’ll prolly wait til DVD again, but this is not fall asleepable to me :)

July 12th, 2008 at 12:07 am RedRzr says:

OOOO, is Sweet gonna hafta settle for 2nd place?????

July 12th, 2008 at 12:18 am SweetSis says:

My sugah wants to see this. I told him to call Tyrone and enjoy. LMFAO.
*** Oh and I make second place look FABULOUS! LOL.

July 12th, 2008 at 3:39 am RedRzr says:

long time fan and del toro is a bad, bad man. in total disagreement even though i haven’t even seen it yet ’cause hellboy 1 was solid.

July 12th, 2008 at 8:39 am Diallo Tyson says:

I’ll take Del Toro’s misses over a lot of other guy’s hits. The first one wasn’t great, but still pretty good. Del Toro is insane. In six hours, I’m there.

July 12th, 2008 at 10:05 am Jaime Sez says:

caught it last night and dreamt about it after.
its a “hell” of a good time.
get it?

July 12th, 2008 at 11:57 am hisherness says:

i look forward to your review of The Dark Knight, then, Mr Jackson …

July 12th, 2008 at 12:23 pm Ed80 says:

yeah hisher, i wunta read that one too, i’m dying to see that one. this one; not so much.

July 12th, 2008 at 2:19 pm CeaseNYC says:

Tonite is the niiite. Tooonite is the nite. (sung to the tune of that classic DJ Quik ditty).

July 12th, 2008 at 2:20 pm CeaseNYC says:

Jus read it. I can’t believe you fell asleep man. Dead wrong! HELLBOY is da JOINT!

July 12th, 2008 at 2:41 pm Edwardo Jackson says:

Sorry, Cease. When my cerebral cortex isn’t actively engaged, sleep happens. :-)



July 12th, 2008 at 2:53 pm young clean bastard says:

ima trust the 2 stars & stay far off ain’t into comic books

July 12th, 2008 at 2:54 pm young clean bastard says:

not feeling the batman stuff neither

July 12th, 2008 at 3:41 pm kamalp says:

I came. I saw. I laughed. I give it Kamal’s Special 4 Daps!!! !!!LMBAO!

July 12th, 2008 at 4:49 pm Friendlee says:

I can remember the last time i fell asleep in a movie. Hancock anyone?

July 12th, 2008 at 10:09 pm Diallo Tyson says:

It’s a solid, entertaining flick. Unfortunately it was almost derailed by Selma Blair’s performance. She shouldn’t be “acting.” Plus, Lance Gross needs to be getting all of Jason Statham’s work. That boy is the truth.