July 12th, 2008

HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY (2008) ***

Since this may be the last year of The Diamond State Drive-In Theater (Delaware’s last remaining drive-in in existence), I thought it would be a great idea to toss the wife in the Cavalier and go across state lines to check out a Comic Book Movie Double Feature of Hellboy 2:  The Golden Army and Wanted.  Now I wasn’t a big fan of the first Hellboy movie, but I do admire the work of director Guillermo del Toro and the previews were promising lots of eye-popping special effects and plenty of monster mashing, so if figured what the hay.  Besides, it won’t be too long before seeing demons with gigantic stone boxing gloves fighting enormous robots under the moonlight will become a thing of the past in the First State, so you got to grab each opportunity you can get by nut sac.

 

The plot of Hellboy 2 has an evil Troll Prince getting pissed off that humans have ignored the truce between Man and Troll to keep out of his forests, so he’s getting itchy to try out his father’s Golden Army of Giant Indestructible Killer Robots that have the capacity to bring about the end of humankind as we know it.  His hottie twin sister doesn’t want that so she hides the map containing the Army’s whereabouts and ditches the Troll Kingdom for New York where the demon Hellboy (Ron Perlman) and his band of paranormal investigators try to protect her from her spear wielding sibling. 

 

Hellboy 2 suffers from some of the same problems the first film did (mainly that Hellboy mostly seems like a supporting character in his own movie), but this time out del Toro is totally in his element.  Thanks to the critical success of his Pan’s Labyrinth, del Toro doesn’t have to kowtow to the lame-brained execs and can finally make a movie for himself instead of a studio mandated demographic group.  This means that del Toro can put in as many bedtime stories that look like a Rankin Bass version of an Iron Maiden album, calcium eating tooth fairies, and other assorted general weirdness without worrying if an exec is looking over his shoulder screaming “What the fuck is this crap?”

 

Del Toro serves up at least one memorable special effects set piece in The Troll Market which kinda plays like an updated version of the Star Wars cantina scene for the new millennium.  This scene alone has a bigger cast of mutants and weirdos than the last three David Lynch movies combined and is totally worthy of your $8.  (Don’t you just love drive-in prices?  TWO movies for EIGHT BUCKS, baby!  It certainly beats the shit out of going to a Roofie Cinema.) 

 

Sure the movie is uneven as all get out, and could’ve benefited from some tighter editing, but this flick features a giant monster brawl every ten minutes or so, so what more do you really want?  I especially enjoyed the scene where Hellboy squared off against the giant Elemental monster.  If the monster itself suffers from comparison to the Cloverfield monster, that’s okay because this movie one-ups the monster from that movie because this monster actually turns INTO a clover field after it’s been slain.

 

Perlman is great (again) but you’ll be wishing he had more screen time (again).  Luckily for us, there’s no more wet-behind-the-ears rookie FBI guys mucking up the works, which lets the supporting cast do their thing.  Returning stars Selma Blair (Firestarter Goth Girl), and Doug Jones (Telepathic Fish Man) are in fine form and their performances are complemented nicely by the addition of a new character, Johan Krauss (German Gas Man) voiced by Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane.  

 

The flick is also chockfull of great dialogue, but I think I’m going to have to nominate “I’m not a baby, I’m a tumor!” as the best of the bunch.

 

Next up was Wanted and I don’t if it was because this was my second time viewing the film but most of this movie actually MADE SENSE this time around.  I guess goofy shit like assassins who can curve bullets and weaving looms that order people to kill just makes more sense when you’re at the drive-in.  For those who’ve seen Wanted already, you already know how insane this movie is.  Even though I just saw it nine days ago, Wanted is STILL the Best Brain Dead Action Movie since Shoot ‘Em Up and STILL the Best Exploding Rat Movie ever made and I'm STILL giving it three stars despite it's moments of extreme stupidity.  Honestly folks, how can you turn down an opportunity to see Angelina Jolie’s bare ass 50 feet high on the drive-in screen under the stars in the comfort of your own car?

 

Anyone out there interested in doing their part to save The Diamond State Drive-In Theater, check out their website at www.dsdit.com.  Take someone you love to the drive-in tonight.