director: Paul W.S. Anderson
starring: milla jovovich, tony jaa, ron perlman and meagan good
REVIEWER: lyall carter
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. Feature film based on the video game by Capcom.
While on a peril-laden mission to track a missing team of soldiers, the hard-as-nails U.S. Army Ranger, Captain Natalie Artemis, and her elite brothers-in-arms find themselves transported to an alternate universe. There, trapped in a barren desert-world rife with formidable adversaries and subterranean sand-dwelling beasts, for the first time, Captain Artemis and her squad are shocked to discover that their otherwise destructive military weapons are now entirely inadequate to take down the enemy.
But, unexpectedly, in their desperate battle for survival, the team stumbles upon a mysterious local huntsman, whose superior combat skills allow him to stay one step ahead of the mighty creatures. Is there an escape from the prison realm? Above all, what does it take to become a fearless monster hunter?
It’s clear from the outset what Monster Hunter is trying to do. As an adaption of a video game, Monster Hunter is setting out to slay the box office and set up a franchise with multiple entries to claim some of that box office booty.
Although like many of its similar predecessors it can be a dire mistake attempting to set up an unearned franchise during the first installment. The film can fill with multiple complications, one being which the audience feels as if not enough attention is being given to the narrative and character construction of the film they’re watching now.
Monster Hunter’s biggest issue is not found in the wonderfully rendered CGI monsters with its accompanying bloody violence but in the human characters. There’s no one that you really care about and the interaction between the characters, apart from some stolen moments, is kind of non-existent. This leads to the audience feeling they’re watching some CGI demo reel. Beautiful to look at but ultimately hollow.
While Monster Hunter has some stunning CGI, the narrative is particularly hollow leaving the audience without any characters with which to connect with.