Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)

Starring: Ron Perlman. Selma Blair, Doug Jones, Luke Goss, Seth MacFarlane, Anna Walton, Jeffrey Tambor, John Hurt

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro

Rating: 1 2 3 4

Liz (Selma Blair) and Helloby (Ron Perlman) in Guillermo del Toro's Hellboy II: The Golden Army

When there's something strange in your neighbourhood who you gonna call? Why, the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defence, of course. But instead of four guys in boiler suits toting Hoovers you get a leather-clad firestarter, a blue fish man with a toilet seat round his neck and a big red demon called Hellboy. Oh crap…

Yes, the US government's worst kept secret is back in business, and Big Red and his freaky pals are out on the streets of Manhattan to fight the weird and wonderful forces of evil in Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) plots to take over the world

Except, this being a film from the gloriously mixed up mind of Guillermo del Toro, the bad guys are not so much evil as… misunderstood. Okay, so fungus-white elf Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) may be hell-bent on destroying the human race by unleashing an indestructible army of golden golems from a cave beneath the Giant's Causeway, but who can blame him, as the greed of mankind continues to pave paradise and put up parking lots, pushing his mythical people further and further into the shadows.

So we have some truly spectacular special effects action sequences and some superbly imaginative flights of fantasy that combine the completeness of the Star Wars universe with the delightful attention to the detail of the Lord of the Rings films and the quirky charm of the Jim Henson Workshop, all overlaid by the distinctive disturbing creepiness that's become del Toro's trademark. But we also have a moral dilemma for our hunky tandoori hero, who finds himself defending a human race who spurn him at the expense of an ancient, magical people with whom he actually has far more in common.

Oh, and girlfriend Liz (Selma Blair) is pregnant. Spawn of Hellboy – now there's a thought (as long as that thought isn't 'Shrek 3' that is…).

Doug Jones as fishman Abe Sapien

In fact, throughout the film, the seeds are sown for another sequel, with several references to our hero's destiny as the destroyer of our world. And if del Toro c an maintain the appealing mix of fantasy horror and funny one-liners, high octane action and lovable characters (you gotta love this movie's new guy, ectoplasmic German know-it-all Johann  Krauss), all I can say is, bring it on, cuz I can't wait to see more of our cigar-smoking, cat loving, wise-cracking antihero kicking demon ass.

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