Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
IMDB Rating: 4.0 (403 votes)
Studio: Sony Pictures
Starring: James Babson, Ladislav Beran, Selma Blair, Brian Caspe, Garth Cooper
Summary: In the ongoing deluge of comic-book adaptations, "Hellboy" ranks well above average. Having turned down an offer to helm "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" in favor of bringing "Hellboy"'s origin story to the big screen, the gifted Mexican director Guillermo del Toro compensates for the excesses of "Blade II" with a moodily effective, consistently entertaining action-packed fantasy, beginning in 1944 when the mad monk Rasputin--in cahoots with occult-buff Hitler and his Nazi thugs--opens a transdimensional portal through which a baby demon emerges, capable of destroying the world with his powers. Instead, the aptly named Hellboy is raised by the benevolent Prof. Bloom, founder of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, whose allied forces enlist the adult Hellboy (Ron Perlman, perfectly cast) to battle evil at every turn. While nursing a melancholy love for the comely firestarter Liz (Selma Blair), Hellboy files his demonic horns ("to fit in," says Bloom) and wreaks havoc on the bad guys. The action is occasionally routine (the movie suffers when compared to the similar "X-Men" blockbusters), but del Toro and Perlman have honored Mike Mignola's original Dark Horse comics with a lavish and loyal interpretation, retaining the amusing and sympathetic quirks of character that made the comic-book Hellboy a pop-culture original. He's red as a lobster, puffs stogies like Groucho Marx, and fights the good fight with a kind but troubled heart. What's not to like? --"Jeff Shannon"