Every now and again, a movie comes along that is pure unadulterated fun, and folks, you can add MONSTER HUNTER to that list.
In MONSTER HUNTER, behind our world, there is another: a world of dangerous and powerful monsters that rule their domain and with deadly ferocity. When an unexpected sandstorm transports Captain Artemis (Milla Jovovich) and her unit (T.I. Harris, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta) to a new world, the soldiers are shocked to discover that this hostile and unknown environment is home to enormous and terrifying monsters immune to their firepower. In their desperate battle for survival, the unit encounters the mysterious Hunter (Tony Jaa), whose unique skills allow him to stay one step ahead of the powerful creatures. As Artemis and Hunter slowly build trust, she discovers that he is part of a team led by Admiral (Ron Perlman). Facing a danger so great it could threaten to destroy their world, the brave warriors combine their unique abilities to band together for the ultimate showdown.
I’ll admit that, when I first put this on, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get through it. The acting leaves a lot to be desired and I found myself being really critical of everything. However, at some point I said to myself, “Shannon, let’s just enjoy this and see what happens,” and by doing so, I ended up enjoying the hell out of this movie.
One of the strengths of MONSTER HUNTER lies in the relationship that forms between Hunter (Jaa) and Artemis (Jovovich). Though they start off as adversaries, eventually they learn that, in order to survive, they need one another. But, even more than that, each possesses their own skillset from their worlds used in a way to not only bring them closer but also, as a way to teach one another about where they are from. And the best part is that the friendship blossoms over chocolate! If that’s not positive reinforcement for the benefits of chocolate then I don’t know what is!
Aside from the evolving friendship on-screen, another highlight of Jovovich and Jaa are their fight scenes – both with each other and with the monsters. I can easily watch Jaa fight gargantuan monsters in slow-mo all day long and I’m always happy to see Jovovich defeating whatever ruthless creature comes her way, whether in the form of zombies or monsters from a parallel universe.
When it comes to creature features, the majority of fans want to know the important stuff, like how cool, terrifying, or gnarly the monsters are. The VFX used to bring these massive creatures to life is nothing short of impressive and a reminder that when done properly, VFX/CGI can be extraordinary. Though the largest monsters have an air of unbelievability to them, the smaller, more spider-like creatures made me want to jump out a window. The design of those will make your skin crawl and as I like to say to co-owner/managing editor, Sarah Musnicky, those creatures are NOT huggable. Editor’s Note: For once, I can say that Shannon is right on this one. Would not hug.
The presentation of MONSTER HUNTER felt like we were reading through chapters in a book as the viewer prepares to go on a wild adventure. There’s a lot left up in the air set-up-wise. I don’t understand a lot of what happened. I have no idea why there’s a one-eyed cat making sushi. I don’t really understand what’s going on with Ron Perlman and his ragtag team of friends, but you know what? I also really don’t care. I was eventually so entertained by the over-the-top elements that I was dialed in and amused throughout the 100 min runtime. I’m not saying that storylines aren’t important. They most definitely are and have the ability to make or break a film but, in the case of MONSTER HUNTER, sometimes we just need a film to be nothing more than an enjoyable romp.
In all, MONSTER HUNTER is an absolute blast. I’ve been a massive fan of Paul W.S. Anderson ever since Event Horizon (one of the most terrifying movies I’ve ever seen) and the subsequent release of Resident Evil. Though I don’t think MONSTER HUNTER is at that same level, I still loved how fun he made this film. Jaa and Jovovich look like they are having a blast, the production design/VFX is off the charts, there are monsters galore, as well as Ron Perlman and a one-eyed cat. What more can you ask for?
MONSTER HUNTER is now available on Digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD. Oh, and make sure to stay for the mid-credit scene!