Monster Hunter is the latest attempt by Hollywood to cash in on adapting a video game into a movie franchise. This is not the first nor will it be the last even though the rate of success for such ventures in the past have been anything but stellar (think .. Assassins Creed, Warcraft, Sonic the Hedgehog and The Angry Birds Movie just to name a few). I have to confess that I am beyond the age of being able to play or appreciate video games, so I shall not be able to make any comparisons on how faithfully Monster Hunter aligns itself with the plot and characteristics of the video game. I shall hence review this movie solely as a standalone adventure fantasy movie.
Milla Jovovich works best when she is directed by her husband Paul W.S. Anderson and fighting zombies in the Resident Evil series. Here, she is once again working with her husband who directs and co-write the film. It doesn’t require much changes to the winning formula here as we just need to replace the zombies with menacing monsters. Anderson has a talent for directing fast and furious action sequences, and he once again excels in that department here. Fighting off giant sized and ferocious monsters is certainly far more challenging than battling off those slow to react zombies, so we are treated to some new and cool tricks with the combat scenes which are set mostly in the picturesque terrains of a dessert environment. In addition to fending off the monsters, Milla Jovovich also have to combat one on one with Thai martial arts actor Tony Jaa (Ong-bak). These bone crushing, body flying mortal combat encounters are just as fun to watch although one can’t help feeling a bit sorry for Milla for being flung around like an unwanted Barbie doll. Nevertheless despite the unpleasantries, Milla still manages to look strikingly beautiful. The interaction between Milla and Tony is made more amusing as they cannot communicate in English and much of the time their expressions were made up more of grunts and howls, than actual attempts in dialogue.
Monster Hunter does not pretend to be anything other than a fantasy adventure movie and it does that exceedingly well with the fast paced and well choreographed action sequences. The action is relentless from start to finish and you will feel exhausted just watching this. The ending was predictably open ended to lay the path for a franchise for the series. Given today’s challenges and the numerous franchise that exists out there in the market today, I would would not get my hopes too high for a follow-up. One more final thing .. I love the cat character, Palico, the Meowscular Chef who comes on only towards the final act, and wouldn’t mind watching more of this potentially hilarious side-kick.