What we're watching and playing this week
You know those death metal album covers from Guns N’ Roses and Avenged Sevenfold with an evil skeleton or creature drawn in a freaky yet cool, rock ‘n’ roll manner? That’s basically the latest iteration of Hellboy, except it’s not rock ‘n roll. It was never going to be easy to top Guillermo del Toro’s version of the beloved Dark Horse comic, thanks to stupendous costume design, fascinating world-building and just Ron Perlman being the best actor to don the stone fist and trench coat. But director Neil Marshall’s Hellboy struggles to even become its own franchise, let alone a successor. Shame, seeing how the film takes quite a few cues from its source material. Hellboy ( an adequate David Harbour) and the B.P.R.D. find themselves up against Nimue, the Blood Queen (the always compelling Milla Jovovich), who’s on the hunt for her king to start the Apocalypse. Hmm, we wonder who that could be? Hellboy must find his humanity to resist the temptations of ruling all, but that’s hard to do when even audiences struggle to see it. Take away the one-too-many forced jokes and atrocious CGI, and Hellboy just seems to be a character with daddy issues. Don’t get us wrong, his relationship with adoptive father Professor Broom is key in most of the comics, but here it’s just actor Ian McShane delivering an info dump to the team about what mission needs attending to. Where are these “issues”?
Look, if you’re after a B-movie with weird creatures, fairly stylish fights and cheesy dialogue, this Hellboy is for you.
In cinemas now
My Hero Academia: Two Heroes (PG)
The phenomenally successful anime series, My Hero Academia, finally got itself a full movie, and while it may not be canon, it still packs a wallop. By that, we mean plenty of All Might and his protégé Deku screaming “SMAAAASH!” whenever they punch something. This time all the smashing will take place in a floating man-made city where a villain takes the island hostage.
In cinemas now
The first Middle-East orginal drama is about to land on our Netflix tabs, and what a freaky looking one it is. Set in modern Amman and ancient Petra, Jinn follows a group of Arab teenagers as their friendships and budding romances are tested when they unknowingly invite the supernatural forces of jinn into their world. As the lines between good and evil blur, can the friends find the answers needed in order to save everything?
Out in summer, 2019
Huge in France
You’d think being a star sensation in one country would mean you’re known the world over. In the real world, maybe, but not for French comedian Gad Elmaleh who heads over to LA to reconnect with his son. He’s just your average joe there, which doesn’t work too well in his favour seeing how he’s a millionaire jerk. That just makes it all the more sweeter when he gets his just desserts from LA and its culture. An easy watch.
Out now on Netflix
Fallout 76, Metro Exodus, Far Cry New Dawn – just a few triple A titles released over recent months with the same premise: It’s the end of the world and weird creatures run amok. Survive. Why does hearing that immediately make us yawn? Gamers have delved into an apocalyptic wasteland far too many times, and now with Days Gone, a game which already has a clear resemblance to The Last of Us, we’re off to do it once again. Groan. Luckily, though, the guys at Song Bend Studio have shaken up the post-apocalyptic zombie formula to give us new kinds of frights and fights to deal with.
Sorry, did we say the Z word? We meant to say Freakers – the main enemies in the open-world PS4 exclusive. We’ll get into the different types, but the main draw of these terrifying foes is that they don’t just come in groups of two or ten, they come rampaging after you in the hundreds. It’s a daunting site, especially when the developers made it clear that one of these Freakers is already a big enough threat. Basically, think the hordes of creatures seen in World War Z, except you’re decked out guns, molotovs, spiked baseball bats and a crossbow to hold them back. From the looks of it though, that isn’t nearly enough, and you’ll have to climb up buses, manoeuvre around barns and abandoned buildings to trick them. Just imagine trying to deal with a tidal wave of bodies in an enclosed space. It gives us the shivers, and we love it.
Other types of Freakers will give you trouble, including the screamer that can stun our protagonist, grizzled bike rider Deacon, and even animals including wolves, raging bears and infected swarms of ravens. Poor Deacon, but it isn’t all doom and gloom for our stereotypical main character, because he’s kitted out with a sweet rod. This is the main mode of transport around the huge Pacific Northwest environment, and the chopper is fully customisable to give you an edge in battle (and running away). The bad part about the so-called “Drifter Bike” is that it needs fuel, so if you aren’t stocked up on gas, you’ll be left stranded in a vast wasteland filled with creatures and vicious gangs of other humans trying to survive.
These gangs will play a big part in the story, which is apparently about brotherhood and loyalty, along with clear hints of The Last of Us-type themes.
Apocalypse-shmocalypse — definitely nothing original, but Days Gone may just surprise thanks to its unique gameplay.
Available on PS4. April 26.
World War Z (17+)
The movie did come out a while ago, but we prefer a fleshed-out co-op shooter than one of those tie-in movie games. Hundreds of zombies, a four-man team and an arsenal of weapons to fend off impending waves of them — what more could you want from a zombie game (with the exception of Days Gone, next page)? You’ll be placed in major cities around the world to save the day. Good luck.
Out now on PS4, Xbox One and PC