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It’s shaping up to be a monstrous year for action films in 2008, in more ways than one. Guillermo del Toro is back at the helm of a second HELLBOY after releasing the excellent adult-oriented fantasy film PAN’S LABYRINTH. In once again taking on the subject of a wise-cracking demon with a heart of gold who fights to protect humans against the advance of supernatural evils, the filmmaker is cranking up the screen fighting action big-time and he’s got former Jackie Chan stunt team member Brad Allan making sure the film delivers all the right moves.

The original HELLBOY (2004), based on comic books by Mike Mignola, was an immensely imaginative and yet grounded breath of fresh air among otherwise soulless CGI actioners. Del Toro is among a handful of modern action filmmakers, including Christopher Nolan and Bryan Singer, who is capable of not losing a sense of humanity amid the kind of cinematic wall-to-wall special effects and epic battles that are taken from the imaginations of comic book creators. He also knows how to shoot some wild fight scenes as we’ve already seen in BLADE 2, which featured choreography from Donnie Yen.

HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY sees the return of the great Ron Perlman as a highly unconventional superhero. He’s a misunderstood demon who entered our world as a child and was raised to essentially be a good guy, despite the red skin and horns he keeps sanded down. Teamed with other paranormals including his pyrokinetic girlfriend Liz (Selma Blair), aquatic empath Abe Sapien (Doug Jones), and protoplasmic mystic Johann (James Dodd), Hellboy works for a secret government agency to combat a variety of otherworldly threats to humanity. In this case, a truce between the mythical realm and our world is broken. A vicious leader named Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) who treads both worlds defies his bloodline and awakens an unstoppable army of creatures.

A new trailer just released exclusively to IGN shows more fantastic fantasy action that fans have come to expect from del Toro. It also shows some wicked martial arts fighting from the main villain, who looks a bit like a high elf from the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.

The lead stunt coordinator for the film is Bradley James Allan, who until recently was one of the top stunt actors in the world-famous Jackie Chan Stunt Team. Allan became a hit with fans after he memorably fought Jackie onscreen in GORGEOUS. Although the film is not considered one of Jackie’s most exciting action films, Allan’s main fight sequence with his mentor remains one of Jackie’s best screen fights since the film’s release in 1999.

Allan has since become one of Hollywood’s emerging stunt coordinators with credits on PETER PAN (2003), THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK (2004) and THE PACIFIER (2005). HELLBOY 2 appears to contain Allan’s most elaborate action sequences yet. With Guillermo de Toro overseeing Allan’s fight work, I can’t wait to see what these filmmakers and their stunt crew has cooked up for us.

HELLBOY 2: THE GOLDEN ARMY is headed to theaters in the U.S. on July 11th, 2008 courtesy of Universal Pictures.

Downloadable, high definition versions of this trailer are available at IGN.

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