Armed with a slightly bigger budget than his 2004 original and with more clout after the Oscar-nominated success of "Pan's Labyrinth," del Toro's latest take on the Mike Mignola comic book is uncompromisingly the product of his wildly fantastical imagination.
Playing it faster and looser, if somewhat less focused than the first "Hellboy," the Los Angeles Film Festival's official closer (neatly book-ending with curtain-raiser "Wanted") should have no problem building on the $100 million-plus its predecessor grossed internationally when it officially enters the summer derby on July 11.
Of course, just how much more would depend on how the fanboys will feel about sequences like Red and Abe drunkenly singing along to Barry Manilow's "Can't Smile Without You."
With the origin story out of the way, del Toro wastes little time in getting down to business. When a longstanding truce between the underground-dwelling original sons of the earth and humankind is broken by Prince Nuada (Luke Goss), the rebellious son of King Balor (Ron Perlman's old "Beauty and the Beast" co-star Roy Dotrice), something must be done to prevent him from reawakening the killing machines known as the Golden Army.
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