Boasting an iron-clad physique, sawn-off horns and a fiendishly bad attitude, thank God Hellboy's on our side in the "dark place where ancient evil slumbers". Together with foxy firebrand Selma Blair and amphibious sidekick Abe Sapien, "Big Red" (Ron Perlman) is charged with saving Earth from evil madman Grigori Rasputin and his immortal Nazi associates. Director Guillermo Del Toro handles the comic-based action with vivacity and Perlman delivers a great performance just the right side of parody.
Guillermo Del Toro
The latest in a long and not always illustrious line of comic book superheroes scorches off the page in the form of Hellboy.
Boasting an iron-clad physique, sawn-off horns and a miniature hand cannon, thank God he's on our side in the "dark place where ancient evil slumbers" (and it's not Wales).
Not content with the V2 rocket, punctual trains and Hugo Boss uniforms, the Nazis wanted control of the gateway to hell.
However, when an experiment went wrong on a Scottish island in 1944, the child of Satan found himself snatched by US agents monitoring the goose-stepping shenanigans.
Now the adult Hellboy (Perlman) is looked over by paternal Professor Broom (Hurt) and his chums in the clandestine Bureau For Paranormal Research and Defense.
The unlikely family includes telepathic Mer-Man Abe Sapien (voiced by David Hyde Pierce - Niles in Frasier) and pyro-kinetic Selma Blair (a lady with a fiery temperament).
They're charged with saving Earth from evil madman Grigori Rasputin (Karel Roden) and his immortal Nazi henchman Kroenen (Ladislav Beren).
Guillermo Del Toro, who directed Blade II and The Devil's Backbone, handles things with such confidence and verve that it's hard not to get caught up in the action.
He's blessed with a straight-down-the-line performance by Ron Perlman who nonchalantly steers the comedy just the right side of self-parody.
Hurt reels in his usual OTT dramatics, while there's able support from Selma Blair as the hot chick love interest and Rupert Evans as the rookie assigned to partner the big red one.
As well as being based on a comic book, it actually has the vibrant, brash and sheer enthusiastic feel of one and the humour is delivered with an endearingly world-weary tone.
It'll make the Hulk green because it's exactly the sort of movie that that misjudged mess should have been.