Milla Jovovich and Tony Jaa’s Insane Chemistry Can’t Save Monster Hunter
When an unexpected sandstorm transports Lt. Artemis (Milla Jovovich) and her unit (Tip “T.I.” Harris, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta) to a new world, the soldiers discover this unknown environment is home to enormous and terrifying monsters. In a desperate battle for survival, the unit encounters a mysterious Hunter (Tony Jaa), whose skills allow him to stay one step ahead of the powerful creatures. As Artemis and the Hunter build trust (over a love of chocolate), she discovers he is part of a team led by the Admiral (Ron Perlman). The brave warriors combine skills and band together for the ultimate showdown.
Based on the global video game series phenomenon MONSTER HUNTER by Capcom, this feature by the same name had me invested feeling like I was inside a with an Oculus Device or operating a Playstation as the action intensified. Director Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich may have completed their long run of adapting Resident Evil movies, but clearly weren’t done with the video game genre.
Milla Jovovich (Artemis)is badass weaving and and bobbing with stunts through most of the film while fighting to get back to her world and partnering her up with Tony Jaa (The Hunter) makes for some comical and intense scene work. Just as in most horror flicks the black people are the first to to, so we don’t see much of T.I. and Meagan Goode beyond the first act of the film. What we did see is great and all too brief. Ron Perlman as Admiral is giving me a rock star upgrade of Jack Sparrow from the Pirates franchise while wielding fire swords in battle
The action is elaborate, often and gorgeously shot thanks to cinematographer Glen MacPherson and the Escape Room special effects team of Joshua Connaway, Michael GD Harman and Tony Heugh. Viewers will naturally assume that Black Diablos will be just one of many different monsters featured in this video game adaptation which contains hundreds of them. The monster that is being hunted lurks beneath the sand like a serpent with pristine calculation and after a while one grows weary of that battle.
The first and last act are fun to interact with, but the middle is a little tedious making little to no sense a majority of the time. While I appreciate all the artistry that went into bringing this video game to life cinematically, it feels like the characters and the narrative are trapped between worlds.