Hellboy 2: The Golden Army
PG-13
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: -1 1/2

Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Jeffrey Tambor, John Hurt. Action-thriller. Written & directed by Guillermo del Toro.

FILM SYNOPSIS: With a signature blend of action, humor and character-based spectacle, the saga of the worlds toughest, kitten-loving hero from Hell continues to unfold in Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Bigger muscle, badder weapons and more demonic villains arrive in an epic vision of imagination from Oscar-nominated director Guillermo del Toro (Pans Labyrinth, Hellboy).

After an ancient truce existing between humankind and the invisible realm of the fantastic is broken, hell on Earth is ready to erupt. A ruthless leader who treads the world above and the one below defies his bloodline and awakens an army of mechanical soldiers. Now, its up to the planets toughest superhero, along with his expanding team - pyrokinetic girlfriend Liz (Selma Blair), aquatic empath Abe (Doug Jones) and protoplasmic mystic Johann to battle the merciless dictator and his marauders.

PREVIEW REVIEW: The world is divided into two camps. There are those who like Neil Diamond and those who dont. This aged homily also applies to movies about Herculean comic book figures. Some of us still prefer intimate stories full of characterizations and thought-provoking themes, while others like watching superheroes and their sizeable opponents smash things. The summer cinema has been stuffed with this genre. And its only half over. More to come.

I kept thinking about the amount of money spent as countless cars, mostly cop cars, were crashed and crunched for the edification of those in the audience who just cant get enough of such activity. There is some wit to the proceedings, even a salute to the special effects wizardry of Ray Harryhausen (Jason and the Argonauts, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad), but mostly its about this huge red guy with horns and a tail, and his cute girlfriend (who turns into a ball of flame when ticked off), facing off against a martial arts sorcerer and his legions of unstoppable iron warriors. Lots of battle scenes and they go on and on.

Well, I may not have given away how I feel about Neil Diamond, but youve probably guessed about my lack of interest in comic book anti-hero movies. Despite all the action, money spent, and special effects magic, they usually bore me after the first twenty minutes. Story and witty dialogue those are my favorite special effects. Whereas, if youve seen a superhero throwing a car onto another car, well, the first 100 times was enough.

That said, the majority of the attending screening audience didnt seem to share my lack of enthusiasm. They were caught up with each round of zap, boom, bash. To each his own.

In the 80s, Ron Pearlman starred as the leonine man-beast in the TV adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. It was an interesting series, a romantic fairy tale, replete with poetic dialogue and involving storylines. Linda Hamilton costarred. If you view her in that program, youll see just how lacking Selma Blair is when it comes to romancing a different species. (Another divided camp: those who like Selma Blair and those who dont.)

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Distributor: Universal

Summary
Crude Language: None
Obscene Language: Our red/horned anti-hero uses such expletives as damn, crap and pissed to reflect his displeasure and on two occasions uses a nearly inaudible exclamation either Geez or Jesus.
Profanity: The leads girlfriend in frustration profanes Jesus name.
Violence: Though its comic book in nature, the violent imagery is incessant; add this two hours of combat with those from the several other such movies of this summer and youve seen more coercive action than returning Iraq vets.
Sexual Intercourse: Hellboy and his flaming girlfriend are about to have a baby.
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: None
Drug Abuse: The lead drinks beer on a couple of occasions; he and a co-hero get drunk; Hellboy smokes cigars throughout.
Other: None
Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Those who don't like Neil Diamond

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