comrade_yui’s review published on Letterboxd:
PWSA doing his typical bullshit predator-style 'badass commandos go do a thing and then slowly get killed one-by-one by crazy monsters' formula will never fail to make me happy, honestly all movies should be about commandos fighting monsters, it's just a perfect concept, but it's even cooler here because after the first 20 minutes or so this turns into a great buddy survival movie with tony jaa and milla jovovich bein' monster hunter besties and it's fucking rad as hell, reminds me a lot of the best aspects of the 2013 riddick film. i could watch 13 more jovovich/jaa team-up movies, they've got such awesome chemistry here, the two of them even do the brotherly arm-clasp of camaraderie from the beginning of predator at the end of this, it's so fucking cool.
outside of that core dynamic, this obviously isn't among PWSA's many masterpieces, it lacks the more interesting political/existential polemics that typify his best work, but that doesn't mean that this is devoid of merit, in fact i'd argue that it's the first PWSA film to really extrapolate his obsession with space from the urban sphere into more sparse and naturalistic landscapes, it's interesting to see him express his hyper-detailed geographic portraits via through open horizons instead of maze-like labyrinths. and that fucking third act of this is cool as hell, PWSA handles the big bad dragon in this like a proper kaiju, it wrecks shop and there's a plentiful amount of destruction and it makes me want to see what PWSA could do with godzilla because between this & the excellent xenomorph queen in AVP he's definitely proved his chops in that arena, give this guy the keys to the kingdom and i'm certain he'd actually be able to make the first decent western godzilla movie.
fun thing i noticed is that PWSA also tends to shoot these monsters in the exact same way that michael bay does with his transformers films, with the camera frequently adjoining the frantic momentum of the creature's motion instead of just centering on the creature at all times so that you actually understand the weight & physicality of its body within the space of the scene, it's a technique that really makes the digital effects feel grounded in a certain reality and easily hides any limitations of bad CGI, which PWSA rarely has anyway, he's always been excellent at fully pushing the limits of the mid-budget action film.
and, as always, milla jovovich is an incomparable goddess.