Directed by Guillermo del Toro, starring Ron Perlman, Selma Blair, John Hurt, Rupert Evans and Karel Roden.

In 1944, US soldiers and paranormal specialist Professor Bruttenholm (Hurt) foil a bid by Nazis and Rasputin (Roden) to end the world. But for the few moments that a gateway to hell is opened, something makes it from the underworld to this one: a baby demon. Nicknamed 'Hellboy', he is adopted by Bruttenholm and becomes a force for good, joining him in the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence. Now 60 years later, the forces of evil are on the rise again, forcing Hellboy (Perlman) and rookie partner John Myers (Evans) to work together to save the planet.

The hero of the Dark Horse comic of the same name, 'Hellboy' arrives onscreen with acclaimed Mexican director Guillermo del Toro filming his every move. Having previously directed 'Cronos', 'The Devil's Backbone' and 'Blade II', 'Hellboy' gives the director strong source material and his biggest budget, but the results aren't all they should be. The visuals are great and there are some fine battles, but the script needed more story and character in front of the special effects.

Having brought us to the crossroads in Hellboy's life, and the choice between good and evil, it feels as if del Toro is in a rush to get to the ending and another half-hour was needed to round out the plot. Compensating, character actor Perlman is perfect in the lead role and there are some snappy one-liners.

Whatever the letdowns here, they should be well ironed-out when the sequel comes around. Make no mistake, 'Hellboy' will be turning up the heat again soon.

Harry Guerin