Visually impressive but with a paper-thin story, lore, and character development, Monster Hunter is exactly the movie you think it is. Based on a hugely successful video game series, it’s true eye-candy with special effects and monsters that look stunning. Paul W.S. Anderson, a guy with a hefty experience in video game adaptations (Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil franchise), dropped the ball here. Sure, the movie looks great but almost everything else is superficial, cringy, and sometimes even annoying. I mean, the opening scene alone felt like it was made to intentionally irritate you. And I hated those fucking songs as they went full-tilt on the military angle.
So, I know I’m going off rails here for a movie with a target audience aged 12 to 16. And that is the ultimate truth about Monster Hunter, it’s a kids movie that you might check out if you wanna see some cool special effects. The writing is atrocious and considering the potential of the source material downright infuriating. In the video game, you slay monsters to collect loot and craft better weapons and armor. How hard it is to incorporate that into a movie?
It would give our characters something better to do than run around awkwardly fighting. In development since 2012, you would think that they had their shit sorted out. Props to Anderson for getting the green light to make this atrocity based on a concept devised by a ten-year-old. Compared to another, almost forgotten, video game adaptation Warcraft from 2016, Monster Hunter feels like a promo video. Love and Monsters is not based on anything but it’s still a cool and entertaining flick.
Captain Artemis and her squad of seasoned soldiers are looking for their army friends that simply disappeared in the middle of the desert. Just as they find their tracks a huge storm appears and envelops them completely. After a bumpy ride, they find themselves in a strange-looking land with a huge tower emitting blue light in the distance. However, just as they’re about to get their bearings sand starts to vibrate and a huge monster appears out of nowhere. Now, they must fight for their lives in this new world full of danger.
One of the few good things about this movie are the casting choices. Of course, we have Anderson’s wife Milla Jovovich in a lead role finally seeing how it is trying to talk to someone who doesn’t speak English. Opposite of her is Tony Jaa, martial arts legend best known as Tien from the phenomenal Ong Bak franchise. He finally had the proper opportunity to present his skills to western audiences and I hope to see more of him in bigger productions. As a cherry on the top, Ron Perlman is The Admiral, looking like he escaped a manga cartoon with ragged bright yellow hair. Also, we have to remember that Monster Hunter is a Capcom game and the movie is counting heavily on the Asian audiences. Funnily enough, the original cut featured an incredibly stupid joke that got the movie pulled from Chinese theaters.
The movie ends with a cliffhanger making it painfully obvious that it’s a part of a franchise. So, expect more sequels to come in the future. If you’re looking for similar but better movies, Rabbit Reviews recommends you check out the best movie in this sub-genre Kong: Skull Island. And here are some of the other ones: Rampage, Hercules, Godzilla, Jurassic World, Pacific Rim and Wrath of the Titans.
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson, Kaname Fujioka
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, Ron Perlman, T.I., Diego Boneta, Meagan Good, Josh Helman, Jin Au-Yeung, Nic Rasenti
Fun Facts: Director Paul W.S. Anderson and the crew traveled to remote locations in South Africa and Namibia to capture the film’s expansive vistas.