Hellboy

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(2004) ★★★

Film4: Sunday 30 August, 11.05pm

Combining science with black magic, the Nazis conjure an infant demon from Hell on a Scottish island in 1944. The Allies intervene and government boffin John Hurt raises the red-tailed sprite as a secret defender against dark forces. Hulking brute Ron Perlman is perfectly cast as Dark Horse comic-book hero Hellboy, a smart-mouthed, cigar-chomping mixed-up kid carrying a torch for firestarter Selma Blair. Guillermo del Toro’s calculated blend of outrageous action and batty humour is much more fun than Marvel’s stable of comparatively staid super-heroes. although it’s a Big Mac with fries beside The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth. That naggingly familiar voice emanating from Hellboy’s laboratory pal Abe Sapien belongs to an uncredited David Hyde Pierce, aka Frasier’s brother Niles. Like Hellboy II, it’s a touch too much.

Certificate: 12

Duration: 120min

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