Monster Hunter

Monster Hunter ★★★

Basically the winged demon chase sequence from Resident Evil: The Final Chapter extended into an entire movie of monster buttkickery and Milla Jovovich once again reinventing herself as a potentiaI franchise badass, because obviously hubby Paul W.S Anderson has a hard on for both of those things. Look, I don't know anything nor do I ever heard of the game this is based on, but the cinematic version of Monster Hunter may just be Paul W.S Anderson's best movie since the first Resident Evil. It's fun as hell, lacking needless exposition and the story just throws both the audience and our characters into this strange, freakish "New World" filled with sand kaijus, oversized spiders straight out of Aquila Rift but actually, like, evil, and a pirate cat of all things. This impressively made on mid budget military fantasy action flick is simply all that; full on one hour and forty minutes of steroidic action, heavy (nauseating) cuts, superb CG gigantic monsters, hot and crisp desert visuals, and Milla Jovovich and Tony Jaa (and Ron Perlman) being best buds slaying 'em all! Although similiar to Anderson's version of Mortal Kombat, Monster Hunter doesn't concern much with stringing a strong plot and characters but merely uses them to explore this expansive geography of its world. In this case, as a video game adaptation that has the word "Monster" and "Hunter" in its title, the gist of it is taken only at surface level and kind of makes for an ultra dumb, almost fetishistic reverence towards trashy adaptation with budget. The dialogue work is nothing less than horrendous, the performances stilted (T.I is a highlight of this), coupled with lots and lots of continuity errors by which Jovovich's Natalie Artemis should've died about dozens of times throughout (and who's also glaringly overpowered for no other reason than just because), but not without the invincible magic of both plot armor and stupefied editing. For the former, it's frankly distracting how she manages to survive each and every monster for literally no sensible reason; impaled to near death by a giant arachnid but woke up just all healthy and fine just thirsty as frick looking like a supermodel on that good crack while her other comrades are already being eaten on or infected by some gooey stuff? No problem. Getting close to and fighting hand-to-hand with a fire-breathing monster yet it doesn't make an effort to burn nor piss her off? No problem. This is why psychology and continuity in film is important especially in action flicks where you got to take into account that the protagonist can be injured and isn't a fashion model demigod.

Now getting into that second point on the editing...were there any Gremlins hounding around the production while all this is going on? Seriously though, why is director Anderson and editor Doobie White still a thing for movie projects? Have any of those backstage guys saw the visual trainwreck - no, no, a singular "masterbomination" that's Resident Evil: The Final Chapter? Because throughout this film there are times where Anderson's passion for his baby project blooms hard while others are cut down like a rabid maniac by White's puke-inducing editing. For a guy who have helmed the cleanly executed martial arts sequences in Mortal Kombat, Anderson sure has zero idea on how to maintain that pace for the next 25 years, settling on either flippy shit (Final Chapter) or slow-mo shit (Retribution). Nonetheless, at the very, very least White and Anderson mostly keep their schizophrenic energy measured for this movie, with the audience can track the action motion if they don't try and let themselves be lost in the bright and fiery Tatooine-esque landscape. I still dislike his frequent use of sudden zooms but they're thankfully not present as much here as well. And for better or worse in regard to the audience's enjoyment, Anderson does handle the $60 million budget by hiding many of the CG fault with his angles and quick/frenetic cutting. The actual action sequences (bar the human hand-to-hand involving Jovovich and Jaa, which is where The Final Chapter Deja Vu starts to roam wildly, not as bad but very sub-par compared to current standard) too are directed with gusto and surprisingly remarkable at some parts, considering a sizable portion of the film requires the hunters to fight the monsters in daylight. Aside from the decent pacing, Anderson's knack for cool imagery also make its mark here. A favorite sequence of mine would have to go to the underground spider cave/world one, total nightmare fuel until the end.

Overall, expect adequate filmmaking, poor script and good sense of fun from this Paul W.S Anderson directed Monster Hunter. Just an old fashioned, reliable, short term entertainment to grab some popcorn and fizzy drinks on the way to the theater. A stressed out me appreciates this more than a serious me would ever do, so cheers. Expect more than the above things and oh boy, prepare the pitchforks.

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