I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Hellboy

(Written for The Ain’t It Cool News, but they never put it up.)

Dear Harry and Moriarty,

I saw a new movie you guys might be interested in, called HELLBOY. It’s about this guy with a giant hand. He is red but he works for the government. Then he fights monsters because he’s in love with the girl from STORYTELLING, but she catches on fire. etc.

Actually come to think of it it’s based on a comic strip so I would not be surprised at all if you boys heard of it already. This is NOT the Punishing guy, this is a different guy, named Hellboy.

HellboyWhat I liked about this movie was the character of Hellboy, who is played by Ron Perlman (BLADE II). He is a guy from Hell who decides he’s not into being evil. So he does other stuff. I always thought Perlman was funny when he was on that Beauty and the Beast show with the gal from TERMINATOR. Because he is this scary lion man and the women loved him because he was sensitive and wore a blouse and because it was only a TV show so they didn’t have to face the reality of what a guy smells like if he lives in the sewer. Believe me man, you ever spend more than two days in a sewer, hiding out or whatever, it’s curtains for your love life for at least a year. Not to brag or nothin. I guess that is not a brag though. Just my 2 cents.

Anyway the point I was getting at was that when he took the makeup off, he still looked like a fuckin beast. This is a grizzled looking dude. He plays in makeup all the time so I guess it’s no big deal for him to be painted red and have a tail and horns and a giant hand and whatever other shit they pasted onto the dude. He doesn’t even notice, to him it’s just like wearing pants. So he is able to give a real acting performance and make this a great character.

He goes around with his giant hand and he punches through things and gets thrown through things and blows things up. He makes some smartass comments occasionally. It’s real good to see such a combination of makeup and acting to make a classic monster character, like Frankenstein’s monster meets Dirty Harry.

Perlman has made some bad movies before, in my opinion. In this category I would include OPERATION SANDMAN, POLICE ACADEMY: MISSION TO MOSCOW and SLEEPWALKERS. When Mario Van Peebles and Ice-T are put into the Straight to Video Hall of Fame, Perlman will probaly be invited. But I also think he was truly great in CRONOS, CITY OF LOST CHILREN, ALIEN RESURRECTION (as the dumb tough guy) and of course BLADE II. So as long as he’s working with a French or Mexican director he’s good. This one will obviously be one of his signature roles. I hope we get to see him in this makeup again.

Seriously though about that sewer thing, there were legitimate reasons to stay out of sight, I know it sounds paranoid. This was a long time ago when I was young, I would not usually have to do that kind of thing now.

There was nothing I really hated about this movie, but I was not as crazy about the world around Hellboy as I was Hellboy himself. They spend alot of time trying to explain who he is and how he is hidden from the world and what not. My one question about that would be, who the fuck cares. So he is a demon guy – lay off. He doesn’t really look THAT weird. Michael Jackson, for example, is a weirder looking dude than Hellboy. Also, those freaky “chicks” in the trailer for WHITE CHICKS that played before HELLBOY. Thay are WAY scarier looking than Hellboy and nobody locks them up in a room and goes on talk shows to try to create a smokescreen. Just let the dude walk around and fight monsters and shit. He’s obviously good at it.

The director is Guillermo del Toro (BLADE II) and I would HIGHLY recommend checking out this guy’s work. CRONOS and DEVIL’S BACKBONE proved that he was a genius. MIMIC was his worst movie and I still liked that one. And obviously we all agree on BLADE II, except for a couple hotshots in the talkbacks. I would not say that HELLBOY is Mr. Del Toro’s best movie. I don’t think it has quite the crowdpleasing action, asskicking and oneliners that BLADE II did. But that’s not a fair comparison. It is a lot of fun and also has a little bit more emotion in the nice love subplot. And kids will definitely like this movie because it is about a cool monster who fights cool monsters. Plus the bad guys are Nazis, and everybody hates Nazis, except Nazis. And Nazis don’t deserve this movie anyway. I don’t want to be controversial but I hate fucking Nazis. Fuck ’em.

Like the Nazis though, if you are a comic strip guy you might have some trouble with this picture. I talked with my geek culture correspondent, a guy in my Wednesday night creative writing class. I’m not sure what the guy’s spy name would be, maybe Darth Superman. Or Harry maybe you could make up some stupid Dungeons and Dragons type bullshit like Gandalf the Elfmaster or Attack of the Hobbits or something like that, this guy would eat that shit up.

According to my notes here, he has some complaints. He says that in the comics Hellboy is more of a detective who travels around to little European villages, going to old churches, castles and graveyard to investigate ghosts and werewolves and shit. He says there is alot more mythology and ghost stories involved. More atmosphere. Not as much American cities and bureaucrats and product placement. He doesn’t get locked in a room and have agents following him around unless he needs them for the mission.

Also this guy says Abe Sapien (the fishman) should walk around in regular clothes and a fake beard, he should not be locked up in a fish tank. And Kronen is just a scientist in a mask, he is not made of sand and windups (Vern note: who fuckin cares). Also it says something here about pancakes. Can’t read my handwriting.

I guess this guy is probaly right, they could probaly do up a better story if there is a part 2, where Hellboy just steps on and you already know who he is and what he’s gonna do to the stupid tentacled or ghostly motherfucker that gets in his way. None of this explaining bullshit. But still I enjoyed this picture and I got a hunch you might like it better, wetting your pants right and left over this thing, or at the very least wetting them in the front. Good job Ron Perlman and Guillermo Del Toro keep it up fellas.

See ya boys,

Vern

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Friday, April 2nd, 2004 at 3:56 pm and is filed under Action, Comic strips/Super heroes, Fantasy/Swords, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

16 Responses to “Hellboy”

  1. Did you ever see or review Hellboy II, Vern? Reading this just gave me much amusement but I can’t find any evidence you sat through the next one even though I know you totally must have.

  2. Yeh, hope you write about Hellboy 2.

  3. I saw Chronos and I thought it was really depressing. I suspect there is some real story from Del Toro’s childhood about his grandpa reflected here because there was a similar plotline in Mimic. Anyone know?

  4. CrustaceanLove

    May 8th, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    Which one of you fuckers wished for HELLBOY 3 on a monkey’s paw?

  5. I swear it wasn’t me. I would never ask for a Hellboy movie without any involvement of GDT or Perlman.

  6. Yeah, it’s a strange and unexpected development. It’s understandable that they never made HELLBOY 3 – neither 1 or 2 made much money, if any. But it’s weird if that wasn’t economically feasible that they think THIS is. To most people, HELLBOY is those movies starring Ron Perlman, it’s not a character they want to see a different version of.

    On the other hand, it’s an R-rated movie, so it’s a lower budget, and it might be interesting to see a smaller scale Hellboy where he’s just fighting a vampire or some shit and not saving the world – I understand that’s what the comics are like. Maybe this is better for a PUNISHER or GHOST RIDER sized movie. If it wasn’t from Millennium Films I might have high hopes for it.

  7. I’m actually not okay with the R-rating. The comics don’t shy away from graphic violence, but it doesn’t define them and it’s not exessive. Every few books you get a panel of a guy getting ripped in half or something like that, but this isn’t SIN CITY or something, that wouldn’t work in PG-13. The whole project is so completely misguided, I don’t know where to start, but I hope Mike Mignola gets a shitton of money out of it.

  8. grimgrinningchris

    May 9th, 2017 at 5:18 am

    There has never been a more perfect marriage of actor, director and material than with the Hellboy movies. And CJ is right, there is no reason for this to be Rated R.

    Funny after years of the WRONG shit being sanitized down to PG-13 for a (supposedly) broader audience, now we’re looking at the opposite.

    This is what you get after the geekification of America and years of dull nitwits begging and hoping for “Hard R” versions of everything from He-Man to Power Rangers. Did these people even really like this shit in its original incarnation? Why does stuff need to be made into something its not just to dislike your continued love of it as an adult?

    Don’t get me wrong, Hellboy is far more “adult” (and literate) than a lot of comics but there is still no reason for it to be Rated R. Other than a marketing ploy.

  9. grimgrinningchris

    May 9th, 2017 at 5:19 am

    just to JUSTIFY… not just to DISLIKE… Dunno how THAT came out wrong. Durr…

  10. I never expected a third HELLBOY with Del Toro/Ron perlman matchup. But this seems to be made by completely generic Hollywood people starring Human McBland and yes-saying television person John Who? ( can´t recall his name and don´t actually care). Too bad.

  11. I think Perlman as Hellboy was some perfect casting, and those movies are fun, but I was never one of those guys clamoring for a third movie. Those movies have great scenes and characters but they don’t really add up to much. And I won’t claim to be a HELLBOY expert, but the five or six graphic novels I read feel NOTHING like del Toro’s conception of the character and his world. The tone is just completely different. Which is totally fine with me, since what you do when you hire an auteur (French for “author”) like del Toro is you get him to author new shit, not just remake old shit. You want that, you hire Neil Marshall (DOOMSDAY, derivative but still underrated), who’s good at that sort of thing.

    And I never would have thought anyone but Perlman could play that character but I have to admit that the STRANGER THINGS dude is an inspired choice. I never thought much of that actor but he was one of the few things about that show that impressed me. He’s got the jaw and the world-weariness to pull it off.

    This still seems like a terrible idea guaranteed to lose a lot of money, and it seems like it should probably be a TV show I’d watch the first season of and then get tired of, but it could be okay. I like watching monsters get punched, and PACIFIC RIM proved that maybe del Toro’s not the best guy for that job anymore, so whatever. Life goes on.

    I’m sure this is just the kind of breathless excitement the producers were expecting when they made this announcement.

  12. I have no horse in this race. I actually had no idea the GDT Hellboy joints had this many fans. I saw people on a hip hop forum of all places bitch about this being made over a HELLBOY 3.

    Like where they even that good? Pretty serviceable but nowhere as quirky and off kilter as the source material. GDT’s 2nd Hellboy was too cute at points for my taste. I don’t think the answer is an R rating either but a little more grit and weirdness to contrast how ironically normal Hellboy himself could seem and less jokes and sitcom moments could be ok with me. Mignola needs to steer this creatively. Marshall is a decent journeyman with the right guidance.

  13. zero-mentality

    May 9th, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Neither has any reason to exist beyond C.R.E.A.M./temporary distraction from the gaping ethical/emotional/ideological hole at the center of Western civilization, but I’d watch a Mignola-guided Hellboy redux over a GDT-guided Pacific Rim 2 any day.

  14. I gotta say it’s kinda a shame, because HELLBOY 2 really did seem to be a rare genre movie which legitimately cried out for a concluding sequel. I get that Mignola wasn’t too fond of Del Toro’s (admittedly pretty free-handed) take on the character, but I wish he’d have let them do one more to conclude the trilogy before rebooting. Particularly since it’s hard to argue that it wasn’t Del Toro’s efforts to get a third one off the ground that made this reboot even remotely feasible in the first place.

  15. I don’t know, I think this could be a good thing. The previous HB films are well crafted with lavish art direction, and some enjoyible performances but they never hit the mark for me.

  16. If I understand correctly, they were trying to make a HELLBOY 3, but couldn’t get the budget Del Toro wanted, so they declared it not-gonna-happen and creator Mike Mignola decided to go another direction. This project was first announced by Mignola, who is co-writing it along with Christopher Golden, who he has written other Hellboy things with. So although it’s a weird development it seems unfair to act like it’s some knock off.

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