Monday 30 June 2008

Hellboy: Blood and Iron (2007)

We're back for the second animated Hellboy movie and he's waist deep in a labyrinthine sewer fighting a minotaur that can shoot a block out of his hand on the end of a chain. I'm sure he'd like to be somewhere else and it doesn't take too long for that to happen. Life is rarely quiet in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. Hellboy's boss/father/mentor, Prof Trevor 'Broom' Bruttenholm picks the place.

Back in 1939 he took out Erzsebet Ondrushko, a vampiric entity who does the sort of bathing in the blood of virgins thing that you'd expect from someone called Erzsebet. There were 613 victims before she was killed, and 400 or so more afterwards. Now it would seem that she's back and the now elderly Broom takes the team to the Hampton House because he has a hunch they're going to be needed. The mission, if it could be called that, is really a publicity stunt: some filthy rich and well-connected guy called Oliver Trombolt wants to turn it into a resort and wants to milk the dubious history of the place. As Broom points out though, just because the mission is a scam doesn't mean that the place isn't riddled with real ghosts.

This one has a more involving story than Sword of Storms, though there's not as much of the interesting folklore. We alternate between a progression of the story in the present and flashbacks to 1939 that intringuly work in reverse order. The sarcasm is better too, mostly courtesy of Hellboy of course. Dry humour is a big part of the Hellboy books and it's not skipped over in Blood and Iron. My biggest problem was that everything worked up until the end when suddenly Mecha-Hecate becomes the bad guy. She seemed very out of place in the rest of the story.

Everyone who matters is back from Sword of Storms: Ron Perlman, Selma Blair and Doug Jones, plus Peri Gilpin as Prof Kate Corrigan. Returning from Hellboy after missing Sword of Storms is John Hurt as Broom. Hurt is an accomplished actor in every regard and voicework isn't missing from his copious resume. His introduction here puts to shame the one from the previous film and he's a welcome return to the cast. There's also a new guy, Sydney Leach, voiced by Rob Paulsen, and he's some sort of human metal detector. I wonder if he'll make it into the new film, given that he completely fails to be the token unknown and soon to be dead crew member.

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