December 18th, 2020
MOVIE: MONSTER HUNTER
STARRING: MILLA JOVOVICH, TONY JAA, RON PERLMAN, MEGAN GOOD
DIRECTED BY: PAUL W. S. ANDERSON
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
At the beginning of Paul W. S. Anderson’s Monster Hunter I thought to myself, “this is ridiculous, these characters were just thrown from their humvee by a giant monster-thing, and not a single one of them has a broken bone.” And then I thought, “this is a movie about giant fucking monsters attacking Milla Jovovich in the desert, with killer spider-crab-things, and sand beasts, and seriously just don’t think too hard on this one Leo.” What I’m trying to say is just enjoy the ride, because Monster Hunter is all kinds of awesome, and then some. I don’t want to make it sound like this isn’t high-action art either, because it’s that too. There’s an element of skill, design, and creativity to make a monster movie of this size work, and Monster Hunter delivers everything you want from a movie called Monster Hunter.
After an opening coda about the new world of monsters and our world, we immediately catch up with Lieutenant Artemis (Jovovich) and her Army ranger crew responding to a call on an outer road in the middle east. When they approach the location, a engulfing thunderstorm chases after them, sending them into another world where massive monsters roam the earth. The crew- consisting of Megan Good, T.I. Tip Harris, and Diego Boneta- do everything they can to take out a monster that swims under the sand, has the tail of a scorpion, and the head of a stegosaurus. And if the giant monsters are not enough, we are soon introduced to a massive nest of spider-crab creatures. They are absolutely terrifying and the fight for survival that Artemis has embarked on is only the beginning.
The first and second acts of Monster Hunter is where everything sings. The editing style is at its core a bit tacky, with fast moving cuts to cover up loose ends, but it keeps the action moving fast so we don’t notice mistakes. But like Anderson’s other films, that’s what works for this story. Later we are introduced to Tony Jaa’s “Hunter” character. He’s a man that has been in this world much longer than Artemis, and although the two scuffle early- obviously to show off Jaa’s martial arts skills- they will eventually need to bond together, and come up with a plan to take out the monsters with massive blades and skilled thinking.
The majority of the action sequences are big in scale, with gnarly looking bugs oozing, and flashing their gnashing teeth. The monsters have, however, met their match in Jovovich, who is once again a complete and total badass. She’s a natural warrior and when I found out that Monster Hunter was based off a video game, the pieces of Jovovich making another awesome action movie with her husband-director all started to fit together. Anderson does not shy away from his directing skills, although the cinematography from Glen MacPherson beautifully evokes thoughts of Mad Max: Fury Road and much later the dragon movie Reign of Fire, which I think is a first for me watching a P.W.S.A. film. Still, the director has become a legend of unabashed, B-movie action flicks, and continues the strong work he did with Jovovich in the Resident Evil series.
Make no mistake about it, Monster Hunter is awesome. The third act is where things slow down, where the arrival of Ron Perlman’s character is welcomed, but almost unnecessary; And still, Monster Hunter has more than enough explosions, montages of characters prepping to kill mega beasts, and a grand finale that leaves you wanting to see more adventures in the future. Don’t think long about this. Find a way to see Milla Jovovich hunting killer monsters in the desert as soon as possible. The hunt is on.
MONSTER HUNTERS IS PLAYING IN SELECT THEATERS DECEMBER 18TH
Written by: Leo Brady