If you want to see a movie about a bunch of the most annoying, selfish, ill-tempered kids you’ll ever see bully around their equally irritating parents, I suggest you rent Cheaper By The Dozen on DVD. But if you want to see a red superhero save the world from an evil space lord using logic only a 13-year old comic book fan could understand, you should probably see Flash Gordon or maybe even Hellboy, the latter of which should be coming to your dollar-theater soon.

Hellboy, played by Ron Pearlman, is an offpsring from hell rescued from Nazis (who planned on using him to release several omnipotent, tentacled deities trapped in large space crystals) by Americans who eventually raise him to work as an undercover, paranormal cop with a fetish for house cats. Again, you need to be 13 to really understand it. Pearlman is joined by Selma Blair, playing his love interest and firestarter Liz Sherman, and some other guy, who plays a human named John who is torn between helping our titular hero and trying to sleep with Liz at the risk of being burned alive.

Director Guillermo Del Toro, who also directed Blade 2, made his name with creepy and atmospheric horror films made in Mexico. Everything he’s done in America, now including Hellboy, are mostly just excuses for Herculean brawls choreographed with convincing enthusiasm. This is not a bad thing, though I hope he will ultimately combine his old flair for plot with his new knack for using computer generated effects in a way that doesn’t piss me off. But even if he can only ever manage doing one thing per movie, that is better than most directors. I hate you Stephen Sommers.

The strangest thing about this film occurs at the end when Liz is killed during a ritualistic sacrifice (by the way, you should avoid this paragraph if you don’t enjoy learning who dies at the end of a movie before you see it). She is nude under a blanket while she lies on an altar and then Hellboy carries her body away. He leaves it with the human John before he returns to defeat the final enemy (in a method, by the way, that will seem eerily familiar for anyone who’s beaten the boss of Tree Island Dungeon in The Legend of Zelda for the Gamecube). When he returns, Liz is fully dressed, the only conclusion being that the human John, enamored with her for the entire movie, had taken this last opportunity of privacy to caress her naked, dead body. Apparently, I am the only one who noticed this, as several other reviews have failed in even alluding to it. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think this sort of fawning necrophelia bodes well for the spin-off, stop-animation cartoon on Fox! Kids this fall, Hellbaby (pictured right).

On a scale of demon seed, where The Omen’s Damien is a 1 and Rosemary’s Baby is a 10, Hellboy rates a Haley Joel Osment, the numerical equivalent of a 7.