Monday 28 November 2011

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Ron Perlman returns as the loveable demon who works for a secret agency defending the world against paranormal threats. His team of investigators are called in after an exiled elf prince (Luke Goss) attempts to reclaim the pieces of a crown which will allow him to command an invincible army and overthrow the human race. Can Hellboy stop him?

With cinemas and TV schedules stuffed with so many painfully average comic book movies, Exploding Helicopter wasn’t expecting a lot from Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008). But, we’re pleased to report, this is an immensely likeable and entertaining film.  

Chief among the movie’s attractions is Ron Perlman excellent turn as the titular character. The square-jawed actor vividly conveys Hellboy’s impulsive and impetuous personality which is leavened with a tasty side order in grouchy humour.

As he’s shown throughout his career, Guillermo Del Toro has a wonderful gift for creating imaginary worlds. And there’s plenty of his artistic hallmarks on screen where mechanical objects can become organic, living, breathing things.

While the film has a great blend of imagination, humour and action, there are flaws. The script can find no useful role for Hellboy’s colleagues (played by Selma Blair and Doug Jones) in the Paranormal Investigations unit. 

Selma Blair is given a pregnancy subplot, but it doesn’t go anywhere and only adds to the impression no one knew what to do with her character.  

But this is nit-picking. Colourful, imaginative, and entertaining throughout, Hellboy II is a film which wears its many qualities lightly.

So, we come to the most important aspect of the film - the helicopter explosion. Our heroes track down the elf prince Nuada, who unleashes a forest demon, which looks a gigantic, stick of celery with tentacles. Alerted to the havoc being wrought on the streets a news crew in a helicopter fly past. The forest demon picks up a car and hurls it at the chopper which unsurprisingly bursts into flame.

Artistic merit

Having lauded Del Toro for his creativity and imagination, he sadly failed to bring those qualities to the sequence.

The explosion is disappointingly brief. There’s no falling wreckage, no rotor blades sheering off, just a fireball which fills the screen. Come on man! You’ve created whole new world’s couldn’t you have expended just a little bit energy on this chopper fireball?

Exploding helicopter innovation

First known helicopter destroyed by a giant piece of celery.

It should be noted that this is not the first helicopter to be destroyed by the use of a car as a projectile missile. Die Hard 4.0 demonstrated just how such a sequence should be done.

Interesting fact

Hellboy II stars a barely recognisable Luke Goss as Prince Nuada. Goss was an 80s pop star in the group Bros before turning his hand to acting. For a short time they were massive - in the UK at least – single-handedly starting a craze where people wore Grolsch bottle tops on their shoes. Bizarre.

Before this film Goss had worked with both Perlman and Del Toro before on Blade II. 

Review by: Jafo