Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
Main cast: Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Selma Blair (Liz Sherman), Doug Jones (Abe Sapien), Seth MacFarlane (Johann Krauss), Luke Goss (Prince Nuada), Anna Walton (Princess Nuala), and Jeffrey Tambor (Tom Manning)
Director: Guillermo del Toro


Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a much bigger movie than the original movie, what with it boasting a much more spectacular series of special effects and all, but I find myself missing the more downscale and comparatively more intelligent relationship dynamics in the first movie.

The same cast, except for Rupert Evans' Agent John Myers whose absence is explained by his transfer to Antarctica before the movie takes place, is back. This time around, we have the elves who once commissioned a clockwork army called - what else? - the Golden Army to make mincemeat out of annoying humans that encroached on their lands. The Golden Army did their job so well that King Balor, horrified by the widespread butchery carried out by his creations, decided to call an end to the war. A truce was made between the elves and the humans: the Golden Army would be kept hidden in a secret location, the elves would keep their forests, and the humans would stay in their cities.

That was a long time ago and of course things will change for the worse. Prince Nuada decides that the humans have polluted the Earth long enough and he's going to reactivate the Golden Army to wipe out all humans. Naturally, it's up to Hellboy and gang to put a stop to Prince Nuada's nonsense. Along the way, Liz realizes that she's pregnant with Hellboy's spawn, Abe Sapien falls in love with Prince Nuada's twin sister Princess Nuala, and Hellboy has to deal with a new boss who is so much smarter than he is as well as the fact that humans don't always appreciate his taking care of their dirty businesses because of how he looks.

This is a pretty entertaining movie if only because it has no shortage of action scenes. However, most of the action scenes feel really hollow and artificial with the monsters presented in the best light possible for toy merchandising purposes. Hellboy is still cool here and Liz gets to show more backbone while Abe gets to play the lovelorn guy. However, they seem to be going through the motions in fight scenes after fight scenes. The story is flimsy and the movie pads itself up with plenty of CGI-enhanced action scenes. It also has very little of the darker overtones of the first movie about Hellboy's nature. Here, Hellboy's feeling of alienation from the world he chooses to live in is presented in a superficial manner before the movie moves on to the next big fight scene.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army is a pretty fun big and splashy movie. I have a good time watching it, but at the same time I can't help feeling that this is a rather dumbed down sequel where the emphasis is on the special effects rather than the characters or their story.

Rating: 76


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