Written and Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, Tip “T. I.” Harris, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta, Josh Helman, Jin Au-Yeung, Ron Perlman
One might think we’d seen the last of Jovovich and her husband doing movies based on games, someone paid them 60 million to make another series (they hope). Having never played Monster Hunter the game, I don’t think this will push me into the column of future purchasers. Then, if I hadn’t played Resident Evil before the first film, seeing a few of those would not have led me to play them either.
If you aren’t familiar with the game, don’t worry. You get a good picture of the major NPC’s of the original plus, according to Anderson, you get to see every type of weapon they use. I just found myself thinking of Land of The Lost, where Jovovich is Marshall, Will and Holly in one and Tony Jaa is a way more athletic Cha-Ka. If that reference escapes you, just go back and watch the 1974 Sid and Marty Krofft series. I can’t promise you will like it more, but you might enjoy watching both at the same time. That way, at least you’ll be distracted from the full effect of either.
Jovovich is Artemis, the leader of a squad “…on a routine expedition…” searching for Team Bravo. They find them in some other dimension, burned to a crisp. Soon after that, they’re being chased all over the desert running from a variety of creatures while getting an assist from Hunter, who is lost from his team. Right at about the half hour mark, Artemis and Hunter find they’re the only two left alive from a string of attacks.
So naturally they attack one another.
This is intended to show Jaa’s incredible athleticism and to give Jovovich tough cred. It feels more like a waste of energy when there are bigger problems around.
Once they reconcile, they work on that buddy comic timing with a strained chemistry. They have a few successes before the last act, and we know this can’t be the end. Sure enough they have a few more mouths to jump in and out of before they can call it a night.
The effects of the monsters are what one might expect out of the last two …of the Titans films. There is no real sense of depth to the creatures almost 30 years after Steven Spielberg showed us how it’s done in the first Jurassic Park. Some of them look clever, others look…economical. If you like cheap thrills, there are a few.
Ron Perlman does his best Ron Burgundy as The Admiral. I have never seen him look so silly, but I have often seen him have more fun. Jovovich gives us nothing we haven’t seen in her myriad Resident Evil films. If you like to see a 90 lb model throwing down like a big time wrestler, you’ll like this. Jaa is a little silly as the one character who doesn’t speak English. One might think it a little bit on the stereotypical side. So buy your copy of the film now as it should be banned in about 2 years.
For Anderson, it’s another gloriously cheesy miss. We get the same shit character development, the same staggered cinematography and the same cruddy synth music from his other films. I wish I could be more judgmental, but this guy did Event Horizon. I still can’t tell if that film is glorious or complete shite.
One does not simply rent a movie titled Monster Hunter and expect Bill Shakespeare. You get 103 minutes of impossible gravity defiance and monsters that can turn sand to glass but cannot burn three people when it counts. It’s not something to hold a grudge against. It’s also not something on which to spend money as well as time.
(** out of *****)