Directed by: Guillermo del Toro
Written by:Guillermo del Toro
Starring: Ron Perlman, John Hurt, Selma Blair, Rupert Evans, Karel Roden, Jeffrey Tambor, Doug Jones
Released: August 19, 2004
Grade: B+

Another superhero has arrived to save the day.  Back in 1944, a young baby found his way into this world from a portal which was opened into another universe.  That baby was raised by Professor Trevor Bruttenholm (Hurt) and has he has now grown into a being with superhuman strength who seemingly cannot be killed.  Played by Ron Perlman, he is Hellboy.

The Professor, Hellboy and another sci-fi creature known as Abe Sapien head an undercover FBI department.  Joining this unit is Agent John Myers (Evans), a fresh graduate who doesn’t know what he is getting himself into.  When he asks of the point to it all, the Professor replies with “there are things that go bump in the night, Agent Myers… and we are the ones who bump back.”

Of course, keeping Hellboy’s identity hidden from the public is an ordeal in itself.  The world isn’t ready to know that such aliens exist on their planet and FBI official Tom Manning (Tambor) is running out of excuses to explain the many unusual sightings of a large red creature roaming the streets.  Unfortunately for Hellboy, he isn’t one who enjoys being hidden away and now that he has an outside love interest in Liz Sherman (Blair), he’s more eager than ever to sneak out of the top secret FBI headquarters.

For Agent Myers, his initiation will become something he will soon not forget.  An evil presence has arrived on the scene who are determined to reopen the mysterious portal and allow those from a long distant universe to invade Earth.  Hell is about to break loose, so to speak.

It’s a rather intricate storyline and you’ll need to pay close attention during the opening half hour or so to understand the backgrounds to these characters.  There’s a few details I am still a bit sketchy on so may wait for the video for a closer look.  On the positive side, this superhero caper isn’t like most others.  Hellboy is very casual and has an acute sense of humour.  The romance angle is also interesting and I found myself empathising with several characters.  Not quite as good as the new Spider-Man series but well up there.

A sequel has already been commissioned for a 2006 release with director Guillermo del Toro and star Ron Perlman returning.  Del Toro is one of a bunch of great Mexican directors finding an audience in America.  If you’ve seen either 1997’s Mimic or 2001’s Blade 2, you’ll be familiar with his previous works.  He’s speciality is the thriller genre and given the dark edge to Hellboy, he’s in his element here.