There are things out there that go bump in the night," quips Professor Bruttenholm (John Hurt). "We are the ones who bump back." No, this isn't your average weekend-drunken-sorority-girl- hook-up; it's Guillermo del Toro's above average comic-to-movie film Hellboy. Mix two parts X-Men, two parts Men In Black technology and a sprinkle of The Hulk's big buff looks, and you have the recipe that not only looks good but doesn't leave a bad taste in your mouth.

Based on Mike Mignola's comic book series, Hellboy opens in 1944 as the Nazis, led by Grigori Rasputin, attempt to open a portal to another dimension. Their plot is foiled by the Allied Forces, but not before a small red creature makes it through the opened door. Professor Bruttenholm takes the creature under his wing, and the soldiers give him a very flattering name: Hellboy.

Flash forward to the present. Dr. Tom Manning (Jeffery Tambor), the head of the FBI, looks at a news camera and denies the existence of Hellboy, as well as the fabled Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRA). The next shot shows the BPRA building, cleverly disguised as a waste management service in Newark, NJ. Young FBI agent John Meyers (Rupert Evans) is the newest member of the BPRA team, and he is introduced to Abe Sapien (Voiced by David Hyde Pierce), a bizarre, telepathic, seafaring creature who enjoys classic novels and rotten eggs.

Meyers isn't too thrilled to learn of his assignment -- being a personal assistant to the all-grown-up Hellboy. Hellboy (Ron Perlman) is not your ordinary superhero. Sure, he's strong and can fire huge weapons and kick the crap out of whatever gets in his way, but he's got something that other comic-to- movie-heroes do not have -- a real sense of humor. Del Toro has done a fabulous job infusing almost every scene with laughter. When Hellboy is going blow-for-blow against creatures that look like last night's dining hall vomit, he minimizes the drama factor by throwing in one-liners that make the audience laugh along with the unfolding chaos.

Hellboy isn't just a brute knucklehead; he's a brute knucklehead with feelings. He has a love for cats that rivals his love of cigars, and his affection for fellow outcast Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) shows a soft side that makes him oddly similar to a teenager looking for a place to belong in the world. When the Nazis and Rasputin return, though, it's time for Hellboy to leave the mushy-gushy behind and rip the Reich a new one.

The film aptly combines action, humor and even a bit of romance into something that is above par when compared to other comic book adaptations. Points off from the Sony marketing department, because neither the trailers nor the commercials do this movie justice. A unique hero has spawned from hell, and fans of the comic book along with fans that have never even heard of Hellboy will be pleased.


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