Austin Burke’s review published on Letterboxd:
Someone responded to my YouTube review and said, “I can see you just don’t like action movies.” This absurd comment probably bothered me more than it should have. Action is one of my absolute favorite genres, but it is important to properly execute action-heavy films on a technical level for me to enjoy them on a certain level, or the film could at least give us an interesting story. Monster Hunter somehow does neither, as it is just another Paul W.S. Anderson misfire. When Lt. Artemis and her loyal soldiers are transported to a new world, they engage in a desperate battle for survival against enormous enemies with incredible powers. This is a feature film based on the video game by Capcom. I know absolutely nothing about the game’s characters, as I have only played it a few times, so I am unable to make the proper comparisons.
Many are saying that Milla Jovovich’s character was invented for the film, and that is fine if you make her interesting. While she does get the bulk of the development, there is almost nothing to latch onto. We are thrown into this action scene with a team that we know nothing about. By the time we get to the end of the film, we still know nothing about them other than the broad categories we can fit them in. Artemis is a bad ass, and Milla again delivers on what she rocks at. She is a physical performer, and she deserves all of the respect in the world for that, but this is all she offers to the film. Even with the physicality, the film is shot in a way that avoids some (what could have been) epic moments. We cut our way through every choppy action scene, wasting what seems like interesting fight-choreography. We also get the legendary Tony Jaa, but his talents and abilities are completely wasted.
There is a small semblance of a story that keeps us (or at least me) from checking out entirely, and I will admit, the huge monsters showing up were entertaining. They continued to provide the spark we needed to get through the film, but that was all the film was. We fight, go somewhere, fight, go somewhere, etc. Ron Perlman’s character was at least crazy enough to provide another spark, but it was almost too late at that point. This may have played much better in a theater (watched a screener), and that is the clear intention with these huge creatures, but the editing would have bothered me no less. This is why I love a film like Pacific Rim; we want to see everything happening, and we get that in Pacific Rim. Monster Hunter, and the Transformers franchise are examples of what not to do. It will be mindless fun for some, but I couldn’t get through it without getting upset with what this could have been. It could have been an absolute blast.
🔙The Midnight Sky