Film Review – Monster Hunter (2020)

Title – Monster Hunter (2020)

Director – Paul W.S Anderson (Event Horizon)

Cast – Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, T.I, Ron Perlman, Meagan Good

Plot – When a freak and unexplained storm transports a group of American soldiers lead by Lt. Artemis (Jovovich) into a strange world filled with deadly monsters, Artemis must use all her smarts and new friendship with a local hunter (Jaa) to help her survive.

“Next time you’re the bait” 

Review by Eddie on 12/01/2020

Surprisingly not likely to win any Oscars (unless the visual effects field finds itself in dire need of category fillers), Paul W.S Anderson’s big screen adaptation of beloved video game property Monster Hunter provides the exact type of experience you would expect from the man that made his name with the Resident Evil franchise and while its choppy editing, small roster of monsters and weak script leaves much to be desired, there’s enough going on here spectacle and adventure wise to make sure the experience here is enjoyable enough to make you not regret a use of your 90 minutes of time.

Relentlessly paced for the most part (bar an odd mismatched duo segment that goes for far too long) to maximise the fact we are never allowed to ponder what exactly is happening or who it is happening to, Anderson and his on screen and off screen partner in crime Milla Jovovich push Monster Hunter forward at every moment and from the very first minute of screen-time where we witness a wig-wearing mutton chop sporting Ron Perlman piloting a pirate ship across a desert landscape you should know as a viewer that you will need to turn your brain off should you want to enjoy anything that is likely to come in the aftermath of this initiation into Anderson’s event.

What follows is bare-bones character exploration, a willingness to dispose of anyone that is standing on two legs and a story that is not even worth thinking about for more than a few seconds (much like the film does) as Anderson and Jovovich throw in some lovingly crafted throwbacks to the video games series and a visual representation of the world that will have fans giddy with glee, even if someone really needed to take those drones away from Anderson who seems to be like a kid in a candy store when it comes to sweeping his camera around without a second thought.

In many instances Monster Hunter is one of the most faithful and fun big screen video game incarnations we’ve yet seen, the films battles with sand monsters the Diablo’s and some other various beasts that make themselves apparent as Jovovich’s lost in another world ranger Artemis and Tony Jaa’s local hunter find themselves teaming up should they wish to survive the unforgiving surrounds of this alternate world are all creatively bought to life and make for some thrilling big screen moments of action.

For all its popcorn munching goodness it’s a shame that Anderson failed so miserably in the scripting stakes. No one was expecting Pulitzer Prize winning material from the writer/director but there’s a lot of suspect scripting going on here and its treatment of some of its characters is quite poor with its odd couple racial differences wearing thin fairly early on with this problem joined by editor Doobie White, who seems to be channelling Michael Bay at his most ADHD in some of the films key battle moments, taking away enjoyment when we can’t even tell who is doing what or what is happening to them.

At days end despite all its failings and misguided aspects Monster Hunter does enough to make you not particularly anticipate but not hate the prospect of further adventures in the Monster Hunter universe with ample creatures and locales to explore with what one would hope to be more interesting characters and a more polished script.

Final Say – 

If you’ve seen the trailers, played the games or watched any Paul W.S Anderson films in the past, Monster Hunter provides the exact type of experience you should be expecting and while there’s some fairly dire elements to this film, its willingness to embrace its origins and stick tight to being the film it should be makes this a watchable exercise in escapist entertainment.

2 1/2 Hershey’s bars out of 5  

7 responses to “Film Review – Monster Hunter (2020)

  1. Lt. Artemis, of course, o’ goddess of the hunt. Once again, your review is probably more satisfying than the movie itself, which I didn’t know existed until now. And I promptly watched the trailer (the Chinese cut includes the names of the monsters, close-ups mostly of Milla Jovovich and Tony Jaa with a nanosecond of Ron Perlman, some other girl, and zero footage of Meagan Good and TI).

    Your observation that seeing “a wig-wearing mutton chop sporting Ron Perlman piloting a pirate ship across a desert landscape” necessitates the viewer to power off critical thinking got me wondering about the stages of suspension of disbelief required to not actively hate/refute a movie’s premise or story world — beyond elements of conventions specific to genres like fantasy, horror, sci-fi, nature revenge, etc, and how they differ among an audience.

    For instance, I’ll happily ignore the bending or breaking of laws of physics to believe that X character survived an injury or was able to travel a long distance in an ostensibly short period of time; I’ll even accept that nobody will be inconvenienced unless it’s crucial to the plot, but I’m not sure I could mute calling out the utterly unconvincing casting of Meagan Good and TI in their respective roles. I could believe one of them is a financial data analyst and the other one is a founding partner in a tech start-up or a plastic surgeon, but persons with firearms experience in camouflage? Nope! ʕ •́؈•̀ ₎

    Not sure why either.

    • It’s funny with movies like this mate, it’s really hard to judge it in normal terms as it is what it is and in many ways perfectly captures some scenes and scenarios from the games that not many video game adaptations do, so props to Anderson there!

      In other instances, its one of the most poorly scripted and structured Hollywood films of last year ha. But look, I had some fun with it, its very Transformers-lite, its the best way I could sum it up quickly!
      E

  2. Had no idea this existed but need to try and fish it out now! Jovovich and Anderson are a great combination, and if it even just whiffs a tiny bit like resident evil my wife and I are all in… especially if there’s a bit of perlman in there too as my wife has a real soft spot for him! Thanks for sharing this one with us!

    • It’s a lot of fun for what it is mate. Super silly, loud, dumb and over the top but it’s in many ways the perfect video game adaptation for a fun night out.
      E

      • I’m a big fan of loud dumb and over the top which perlman is the perfect combo for… he made hellboy silly in an awesome way… where as harbour made him a bit boring while the makeup people made him just look silly! I’m all about loud movies – hence why fury road has to be one of my favourite films. Really enjoying your site by the way. Just flicking through it!

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