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4.3 out of 5 stars165
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Hell Boy 2 is a tour de force of the mind and imagination of Guillermo Del Toro. Perhaps best known for his film Pans Labyrinth, he's a director who delights in dark fantasy and twisted beauty; something this film is awash with.

The story does a good job of following on from the original Hell Boy (also by Del Toro) but cleverly it manages to stay true to both of its original roots (the comic book and original film) whilst moving everything on, and giving us something new.

In this instalment of the Hell Boy franchise we're introduced to new characters who join the team and an equally memorable array of villains as was found in the first film - most notably perhaps Mr. Wink.

As you'd expect from Guillermo, the sets, costumes, scenery and creatures are both hideous and stunning in equal measure. We see leg less goblins, the angle of death, speaking tumours, and seed-like elementals, or forest gods, who in death explode to create new life covering vast areas of cities in flora and fauna.

Hell Boy 2, just as Hell Boy 1 was, is a visual masterpiece - but this time Guillermo has a bigger budget and the success of the first film behind him so, as amazing as the first film looked, everything is ramped up 10 fold here.

The extras on the Blu Ray revel that Del Toro had lots of ideas for creatures and monster in the first movie (most notably perhaps, Sammael; fans might remember him) but that due to budget restraints he simply couldn't do. However this time around he got use his ideas and bring them to life on screen.

Guillermo fans will recognise his work instantly anywhere, it's so stunning, original and distinctive. Yet for me it's the way he brings his creations to life and makes his films that make them so special. Nearly every monster we see is an actor in a costume. It's old school - there is very, very little CGI used here and that's what makes everything so amazing - on many levels. If you grew up watching film like Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, and the myriad of 80s fantasy movies with props and monsters, that rather ironically make the realistic CGI creations look dead and souless in comparisson Hell Boy 2 is for you.

George Lucas take note: the fact that Del Toro chooses to use actors in costumes means, in his own words, 'every creature has a heart'. With actors inside them there's real emotion in each of them too, which makes them seem all the more real and alive when we seem them on screen. It means they can interact with the other actors and it's this, mixed with real, solid, hand built sets that makes Hell Boy 2 so special. The most spectacular example of this in the film is perhaps the Troll Market.

The Troll market is a living, breathing, vibrant pit of a place with winding streets and house and hundreds of 'REAL' creatures trading and going about their business. Human skins hang draped over market stall and beast sit smoking human hair from hookah pipes. Shot on location in an disused underground lime quarry its truly and magnificent example of the effort and detail Guillermo Del Toro puts into his films.

Those who doubt his dedication should watch the extras on the Blu Ray, which I'm happy to say is a transfer that does all the beautiful and ghastly scenery justice by looking sharp and detailed. They are some of the best I've ever seen on any Blu Ray - Nearly 4 hours of extra footage and documentaries will take you on a step by step through the creature creation process from concept, design, manufacture and make-up. It really is an interesting watch and I'm glad to say focusses on what this film is all about. The props, the creatures, the sets, and the fantastic fantasy mind of the genius that is Guillermo Del Toro. I could go on and on about this film but I'll leave it there and just say, I can't wait for hell boy 3.
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VINE VOICEon 15 March 2009
Now my feelings are quite different towards the first Hellboy film. I have to admit that although it did have its moments, I found myself becoming bored during the movie. The action sequences were the only relief I felt as when we entered into the emotion sequences I simply found my mind drifting. Guillermo Del Toro's work was completely alien to me until the first Hellboy, now although I did enjoy the original I didn't have many high hopes for the sequel. I guess when he entered into the Hellboy 2 project; Del Toro sought to give us a faster paced, action packed flick that can keep you hooked from the beginning.

In this movie life is great for Big Red (Ron Perlman), he's now in what some would call a perfect relationship with Liz (Selma Blair), and he has a lot of cats and is just enjoying life. Unfortunately the happiness isn't going to last very long as in the dark supernatural underworld, Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) is planning to rise the indestructible Golden Army once again to destroy the human world. His sister who he's linked to by life doesn't agree with his plans and tries to stop the prince reforming the golden crown which would give him ultimate power over the army. She seeks the help of Big Red and the B.P.R.D.

At an increased budget of $80 Million it's obvious from the start that Hellboy 2 is looking to use that budget well. Along with the introduction of a new boss Johann Krauss (Seth Macfarlane), this instalment seeks to introduce a plethora of new fantasy creature. The "Tooth Fairies" are especially bizarre and in a way frightening at their frantic carnivorous nature. A scene that takes place in troll market is especially wonderful with the number of different species going about their daily lives as if in a normal street market.

Along the lines of the insanity of new creatures and sheer bizarre nature of some of them, we also see the return of the classic comic one liner talent. One of my favourite lines in the movie was so simple, yet so effective. A human yells "Hey, you're Hellboy" and right back he says "Yeah, Yeah I'm Ugly". To some this may just seem like a witty one liner just for the sake of humour, but it shows how Hellboy is becoming tired of the public admiration and no longer wants a part of it. He also has the talent of coming out with great lines during the action sequences which make them even more enjoyable.

Talking about the action sequences, there are plenty to really entertain in this film. The fights involving Prince Nuada are especially enjoyable as they're simply so fast paced that you can hardly keep up. The CGI is flawless and blends well with both characters and environment. Along with the action and humour we are still given the heart of the old movie. We see the relationship between Hellboy and Liz develop into something more serious and Abe Sapien also finds what he would possibly consider his true love. To see them personal relationships blend along with the professional relationships involving the new boss, Krauss. All of the above come together to create an enjoyable 2 hour movie experience that, even if you weren't a fan of the first movie, it's a promise that you will enjoy this instalment. I can only hope that a third movie will be made and possibly on a bigger budget as, although I hate to say it. With this movie series, it seems a bigger budget has meant a much better movie.
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Following on from the brilliant Hellboy. . .Red is now romantically involved with Liz, well sort of, in a typical blokey kind of way and working for the BPRD- The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. Along with Abe and Liz they protect America from paranormal and supernatural baddies! The banter between Manning and Red is still comical as ever as Manning continuously tries to make Red conform to the bureau's rules.Now the big threat is prince Nuada an elf played by Luke Goss (remember Bros?) who is trying to find three sections of a crown that allows the owner to control the golden army which was built to annihilate the humans but was shut down as they were so terrible and destructive and. . .unstoppable!I won't give anymore away!This bluray is amazing in my opinion. The picture quality is fantastic as is the sound. Whack your sound system, speakers or telly up a few notches because you're in for a treat. Although a lot of the action takes place in darker environments the clarity and colours are flawless, this movie was made for the eyes! Visually stunning.Some great one liners throughout and the fight scenes are. . .to die for! As ever big red uses his stone hand and "The Good Samaritan" his oversized gun to great effect.The extras in this two disc set are good. When you realise how much Del Toro used real people in costumes, amazing costumes at that to cut down on the CGI, you will be astounded. I thought some scenes were CGI but they weren't! Wow.Brilliant movie, brilliant visuals, brilliant audio. What more can I say?
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on 1 January 2009 the Impression I got when I saw this movie. It has many truly beautyful Scenes. It got the same likable Charakters and even managed to expand some of them - a bit. The Problem for me was, that with the Introductions and general premises out of the way (in Hellboy 1) this film could have taken the Ironies and the non-stereotypical characters and followed this through. It didnt. What we have here ist great popcorn Kino with awesome CGI and dramatic battles, with the aforementioned Depth shining through here and there. The Addition of the ectoplasmic Investigator was an especially tough one (at least for me) to swallow. He seemed to be there merely for comic relief and did not develop much of a characer at all. Even the "Change of Heart" near the end seemed forced and contrived.

All in all this may sound very negative for a 4 star Rating. But this is only the case because the actors/characters and regisseur have so much potential. The Film is NOT bad. And it is very entertaining. But that is also part of the problem- it aims too much to entertain. And so delivers a little less storytelling.
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Guillermo Del Toro has become the new master of dark fantasy -- first with the quirky clockpunk "Hellboy," then with the Oscar-winning "Pan's Labyrinth." Not to mention forthcoming travels to Middle-Earth.

So you know he has the skills to pit Mike Mignola's scarlet anti-hero against an army of fairies and elves, and not make it silly. Instead, it's a spectacular dark fantasy full of humor, action, quirky appeal, romance, and some truly astounding special effects. But what really shoves this movie over the top is Del Toro's brilliant direction, and the stunning performance by Ron Perlman.

Decades ago, Professor Broom (William Hurt) told a small Hellboy a yuletide bedtime story about the Elf King Balor and his unstoppable Golden Army, and how the crown that controls the Army was split into thirds and divided among fairies and humans.

Well, you can't really expect that kind of power to never be revived.

Cut to current day. Hellboy (Perlman), Liz (Selma Blair) and Abe (Doug Jones) investigate a strange supernatural attack on an auction house, where the archeological curiosity known as the Crown of Bethmoora was being sold -- only to be attacked by savage tooth fairies. Turns out the crown was stolen by Prince Nuada (Luke Goss), a resentful young elf who is determined to take the world back from humanity -- using, of course, the Golden Army.

And while Hellboy chafes against strict new commander Johann Krauss (a suit filled with ectoplasm), Abe encounters Nuada's sister, Princess Nuala -- who also happens to have the last third of the crown. But Nuada will not allow anyone to oppose him as he searches for the Golden Army's location, and Hellboy and his friends must venture into a strange, ancient kingdom to stop him from destroying all of humanity.

The worst you can say about "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" is that it sticks to the formula of the demonic outsider with a dark destiny, and his continuing romantic woes. There's some retreading as Hellboy realizes anew that he'll never fit into the world of humans, because he's big and red and has horns and a tail. Okay, we got it. Next big psychological issue!

Fortunately those flaws are relatively minor ones. Del Toro is still able to spin a dark, twisted story with some truly bizarre creatures (the utterly alien, eye-winged Angel of Death), clockpunk robots, trippy underground goblin markets and a new BPRD agent who is basically ectoplasm in a suit. And for the action scenes, Del Toro does not pull punches when it comes to the smashing action scenes -- giant thrashing vines and a one-on-one duel with Nuada are among the highlights.

With all this going on, it would be easy to neglect the characters. But Del Toro packs the script with solid snappy dialogue and some poignantly romantic moments -- including some pretty startling actions from dear ol' Abe. And he also adds little moments to this epic story that remind us that these are supposed to be people -- such as Hellboy's bickering with Krauss, or Abe and Hellboy getting drunk and having a little Manilow singalong together. It's just so cute.

But what really sets this movie apart is the "children of the Earth." No flitting Victorian sprites -- these are creatures that are weird, grotesque, dangerous and immensely powerful, from nasty little tooth fairies up to vast rock monsters and plant gods. There's an alien, bizarre aesthetic to these creatures that feels wholly real, as if Neil Gaiman casually dropped a few sketches onto the drawing board.

But as amazing as the visuals are, Del Toro never neglects the characters. Perlman is perfect for the role of "big Red" -- he's gruff, sarcastic, moody, but also endearing and self-deprecatingly likable. There are more hints of his potentially dark future, and he faces some delicately-handed temptations. But Big Red's good heart is still very much in the forefront, no matter how much human beings fear him.

Blair gives a more lively performance here as a spunkier Liz, who also has some surprising developments in store. Jones is pitch-perfect as the fish-man, who experiences the first pangs of young love for Nuala, while Goss gives a chilling, whispery performance as a rebel prince who is willing to do whatever it takes -- even kill family -- if it helps him restore the fey kingdom. Pretty good villain, since he clearly isn't trying to be bad.

"Hellboy II: The Golden Army" is a wild, darkly ornate ride through the world of half-forgotten gods and fey. While it has a few flaws, those are far outweighed by the brilliant of Del Toro's vision.
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on 8 December 2008
Since I was introduced to Hellboy and thanks to Ron Perlman's really great portrayal of him I've been a huge fan. This sequel ups the stakes in every way; bigger story, bigger monster, bigger fights, bigger effects. Every ingredient needed for a top sequel!

The plot revolves around an attempt to awaken the Golden Army (an unstoppable robotic army created hundreds of years ago for the Elven King) by Prince Nuada, his son.

Hellboy and the gang (except Myers who Hellboy had sent to Antarctic!) are thrust into the middle of this when Abe befriends the Prince's sister, Nuala, during a visit to the Troll Market. This is one of the highlights of the film. The troll market displays a breadth of imagination and variety of creatures not seen since the Mos Eisley scene in Star Wars. Del Toro's use of old style puppetry must be commended here - not everything is CGI and the film looks great for it. Here is a visual style that can compete with Tim Burton's and that's one hell of an achievement.

The stroy rolls along at fair pace and there are some awesome set piece fights. Prince Nuada is one hell of a warrior and a worthy opponent to Hellboy. Luke Goss did a good job here, as much as it pains me to say!!!

There are some great additions to the cast, Johann Krauss being one in particular. Where they come up with the ideas for these characters is beyond me! He and Hellboy play off each other really well and there plenty of laughs with these two going at it.

The character development is extensive in this film, from the flashback that starts the film with the cameo of John Hurt, to the story within the story love interest between Abe and the Princess and it's a much stronger story for it. One of the funniest and frankly bizarre scenes I've seen in any film for some time happens when Hellboy and Abe are both nursing heavy hearts which have taken a bit of a bruising due to their romantic endeavours and are having a drink to ease the pain... well I don't want to spoil it but it's very funny.

The big set pieces in the film are expertly done; Hellboy fighting the forest god and fighting the Golden Army and the prince at the end of the film are worth the price of the disk alone. Also the scrap with the beasty name 'Mr Wink' was great.

The picture on this disk is really good. I think nearly every scene is at night but this lends a wonderful atmosphere to the film. These blurays really are something else. The soundtrack is awesome too - very loud and punchy.

If you're a fan of the first film this purchase is really a no-brainer. It builds on the first excellent film and makes everything bigger, better and bolder.

Highly recommended.
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on 15 May 2009
This blu-ray is razor sharp.
I enjoyed this film at the cinema and it has lost nothing on its transfer to blu-ray.
The story of the first film felt a little flat but this film, while some might say mindless, delivers a very watchable plot.
I won't tell you that it's the greatest acting performance since the premiere of Macbeth but for a super-hero action film you can't get much better than this.
Not necessarily for the missus - this is a man's film.
Order this at your workplace address and smuggle it home under your jacket.
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on 21 January 2009
The film is a worthy sequel to the first Hellboy. Lots of fun, great action scenes. Ron Pearlman has completely made this character his own. I hope they make a third one. The only complaint I have is that it was all a bit easy for them, they never seemed to be in danger of failing.

On the blu-ray side of things, this was the first one I watched and was blown away by the clarity, in fact it almost took away from the film since it looks so perfectly clear it was like watching real people.
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VINE VOICEon 9 February 2009
This second Hellboy film is a vast improvement on the previous film but it is still not perfect. In the film, the elf prince Nuada is tired of the human rule of the world and wishes to start a war using the indestructible Golden Army to wipe humanity off the face of the world. Only Hellboy and his friends in the B.P.R.D. can stop his plan but things are complicated by Hellboy's troubled relationship with Liz and his own desire for publicity.

As I have already said, The Golden Army is a far better film than the previous Hellboy movie but as well as this it has a somewhat different tone to it as well, being far darker than the original. By far the best thing about the film is Prince Nuada brilliantly played by Luke Goss who does a great job of creating an interesting and sympathetic villain. As well as this the special effects are generally spectacular with only a few exceptions that are a bit disappointing.

The film is not perfect however as although the film does have a rather dark tone to it, it does have a habit of falling back on slapstick humour too much in places. As well as this some of the characters in the film are somewhat underused. Overall Hellboy II: The Golden Army was a greatly entertaining film which is very well made and definitely worth watching.
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on 19 February 2009
The focus of this movie is more on action and brilliant effects.

Hellboy is confronted with an old legend of a Golden Army, built from a nearly forgotten culture
and put to sleep when peace has arrived between this culture and humans.
But the son of the leader of this culture, always filled with mistrust and fear, try to revive this army.
Hellboy gets involved and face an equal fighter.

Th dark spirit, compared to the first movie, is a little bit lost from my taste. Therefore you have more "Lord of the ring" feeling. Not bad, but a little different. Also a little bit too much fighting stile of mortal combat.

The making of the movie (Picture and sound) is very good. A new reason for BluRay.
Crystal-clear picture and a very professional sound mix.
You goanna like it.

The story makes a third (final) part most likely.
Hope they are concentrating in this upcoming part more of the origin Hellboy spirit and
leave the "Lord of the rings" to the kids.
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