'Monster Hunter' Review
I haven’t been the biggest fan of director Paul W.S. Anderson’s work. 2011’s “The Three Musketeers” and 2014’s “Pompeii” both landed near the top of my “Worst Movies of the Year” lists. But he has directed several installments of the very successful “Resident Evil” series, starring his wife, Milla Jovovich. And the director-actor duo have reunited for another video game adaptation that could spawn a franchise… whether we want it or not.
In “Monster Hunter”, Jovovich plays Army ranger Lt. Artemis. She and her crew are on a desert mission when they experience a wicked dust storm. They’re somehow transported into another world, where some ferocious beasts are waiting. You can tell early on this is going to be a pure popcorn movie: outrageous situations, corny dialogue and ridiculously gigantic monsters eager to chomp on itty-bitty humans.
Jovovich and fellow soldiers (played by T.I. and Meagan Good) make the first 10-15 minutes somewhat enjoyable. Everything is intentionally over-the-top and ridiculous, but tolerable enough to want to see how is all shakes out.
But the film goes completely downhill from there. Artemis encounters a local warrior, who’s also battling the giant creatures. At this point “Monster Hunter” becomes one long, non-stop action sequence with rapid editing, hardly any downtime and an even smaller amount of imagination.
Jovovich and “The Hunter” (played by Tony Jaa) become the focal points. They’re trapped (with the rest of us) in a mediocre action extravaganza with a bland story and an equal amount of laughable and disgusting moments. The visuals are poor (the dragons look like every other flying fire-breather seen on screen). Appearances by Ron Perlman and a CG pirate cat only add to the insanity.
Bad news: the ending sets-up a sequel. Good news: “Monster Hunter” may not make enough money (even from its target audience in China) to warrant one.