Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa and Ron Perlman
Director Paul W. S. Anderson is back again with another video game adaptation. This time it’s the much-loved Monster Hunter series that he is bringing to the big screen. Hopes are high as the Resident Evil films turned out to be quite decent and he has previously described Monster Hunter as a ‘passion project’. I must admit that I don’t know much about the game series. I’ve played bits and pieces but not much and don’t have a decent understanding of the franchise. That being said, I don’t think it matters too much in this case. Monster Hunter is a very hollow film and can be understood by itself without any additional information.
With the opening shot we are in The New World and given hope that this is going to be a fantastical and adventurous fantasy. A ship travelling across the dessert, is attacked by a giant monster, which we later find out is called a Diablos. Any hope that this was going to be entertaining is quickly dashed as the action is blurred with an uncountable number of quick cuts with the camera not staying still long enough to fully grasp what is going on. It’s an outright attack on your eyes.
We then switch to The Real World, to find a group of soldiers, led by Artemis (Millia Jovovich, who previously starred in Anderson’s infinitely better Resident Evil films). They are searching for a lost team and they themselves end up lost; transported to The New World through a storm. Very quickly the entire team is killed, apart from Artemis, who can bring herself back from the dead after being left with no pulse and then just waking up moments later. It’s set up early that Artemis is indestructible and can survive anything, from being pummelled by monsters to barely having anything to drink or eat for 2 days and still functioning pretty normally, while surviving in a dessert. Artemis is joined by a Hunter, and they work together to try to survive and hunt monsters.
This film is an absolute train-wreck of a disaster. It’s incredibly boring, to the point that it feels twice the length of the supposed run time. The acting is poor throughout with some of the worst dialogue you could possibly imagine. Over half the run time is spent in a dessert which is boring and bland visually, especially when compared to the forest they end up at later. The characters, at least the 2 that survive past the opening bloodbath, are paper thin and do nothing to keep your attention. The more interesting characters, including a chef cat, that appear later are barely on screen. Why do we spend so much time in the desert and then no time at all with anything interesting? The opening of this film raises so much hope of imagination and adventure and then it’s followed with the most boring action set pieces possible.
To give credit where it is due the CGI is incredibly good. There aren’t any eye sores in the entire film and the monsters look photo realistic. It’s just a shame that the monster fights are lacklustre and dull to watch. There is also a sequence with a spider-like creature that has laid its eggs in one of the soldiers towards the beginning, that can stand up to any vomit-inducing scenes from any horror
Other than that, there are no positives. The acting is awful, the dialogue is bad, the pacing is no where to be seen. At one point you think it’s over and then it carries on for another 20 minutes and anger starts to rise that the film is still continuing. So at least the film can illicit an emotion, even if it is anger at the run-time. It even has the arrogance to set up a sequel in its final scene. So far it hasn’t made its budget back at the box-office and hopefully that means there won’t be a second one. It’s proof that there is no justice in the world when this is being shown in cinemas and yet we have to settle for Luca on Disney Plus and on the same day, at least in the UK.