Film Review – Monster Hunter (2020)


Not being a gamer, I knew nothing about the world in which this adaptation takes place, in fact I didn’t realise the big budget effects sci-fi spectacular directed by Paul W. S. Anderson (Event Horizon) was even a video game series until notified by the initiated.

Always intriguing, former child star, accomplished singer and exceptional actor, Milla Jovovich is Lt. Artemis, leader of a loyal bunch of soldiers in search of missing counterparts. They are sucked into a gigantic storm then transported to ‘The New World, inhabited by an array of deadly creatures attacking from air, land and underground.

Remaining alive from a skirmish with a sand dwelling Diablos, also losing some her team, she reluctantly teams up with archery expert, lone survivor Hunter (martial arts maestro, Tony Jaa) whom at first seemingly is not sure if the new arrivals are friends or foes.

They forge a developing love / hate relationship in order to survive.

Little real acting required, the plot is thin, just an excuse to string action scenarios together.

The mission to stay alive, returning to earth as Artemis knows it out the very port hole that brought her in, is complicated, but she’s one tough heroine, even operating on herself John Rambo like, using gunpowder to seal a wound. Ouch.

Loud set pieces are broadly substantial on a big screen, although devotees of the game may just be disappointed by lack of creatures featured considering the scope of fighting worlds of the games.

Personally, the spider like crab species, Nerscylla, living in catacombs beneath the ground creeped me out a little, whilst Rathalos, agile flying fire breathers, are forceful like all the special effects on show here, by legendary Toho studios, detail is magnificent.

The armour created by costume designer Danielle Knox worn by Milla in the new world, reminded me of her Joan of Arc the Messenger (1999) battle attire, sort of.

Synth, retro arpeggio musical score from composer Paul Haslinger, worked throughout.

Not enough of marvellous Meagan Good, someone I’ve admired the work of since D.E.B.S (2004) and Brick (2005) out of the picture too early, I wanted to know her soldier backstory.

Entertaining throughout, a large bucket of popcorn is needed for the trip, stay on during credits for an extra scene involving ‘Chef Cat’.

With ambitious thoughts for a sequel clearly on the minds of filmmakers, coiffed up veteran Ron Pearlman (Hellboy) arrives late as the Admiral, a powerful leader happy to assist humans in their plight whilst making himself available for an unlikely part 2.

★★ 1/2

Action, Fantasy | UK/USA, 2020 | 12A | Cinema | 18th June 2021 (UK) | Sony Pictures Releasing | Dir.Paul W.S Anderson | Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, T.I. Harris, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta, Ron Perlman, Josh Helman, Jin Au-Yeung.

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