Directed Paul W. S. Anderson
Starring: Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, Clifford “T.I.” Harris Jr, Ron Perlman, Meagan Good
Runtime: 99 Minutes
Rating: PG-13 (for sequences of creature action and violence throughout)
It felt like for the first time in weeks (besides All My Life) we were able to see a REAL new release. The last few films weren’t completely terrible but they left much to be desired. It seemed as if we were seeing “direct-to-dvd” releases. This film is based on a video game series for Playstation which started in 2004. I hadn’t played any of these games but had an idea of what they were about. If you are familiar with the director Paul W. S. Anderson, you’ll know he had directed the Resident Evil franchise. Anderson’s wife was the star of those films and is the star of this one as well. She’s always been an excellent lead (going back to her role as Joan of Arc) but the editing was usually a frantic mess in those films.
Before going into the film I spoke with two of Republic Theater’s employees, Katie Smith and Aleia Fugitt. You may remember them when we first got back into theaters as their picture appeared on that column. Both are always very kind. I wanted to go over the steps again with that the theater takes to ensure safety during this pandemic. They explained the social distancing procedure, where seats and rows are marked off. Masks worn until seating so you can enjoy the popcorn, and cleaners that kill Covid are used between each showing. Top notch! Another thing I noticed this week was their awesome popcorn/drink deal. $5.00 gets you a small popcorn and a medium drink. Go see them!
Onto the film.
We open in the “New World” and it is immediately chaotic. We see a pirate ship with the Admiral (Perlman) attempting to keep his ship from the monsters. Immediately we see a large battle and I felt the CGI was hit or miss right from the start. This happens throughout the film. The ship disappears and then we move into “Our World.”
From this point the film picked back up. We meet Captain Natalie Artemis (Jovovich) and her crew of Army rangers. We get a nice back and forth between the crew and the chemistry is immediate between them. Of course….they get trapped in the “New World.” I know this film is called Monster Hunter and I expected it to be cheesy, but I was hoping for some originality. There is a lightning strike and all the comms go down. Of course they do. I also want to talk about the film score for a second. Anytime a monster is on screen (even the beginning with the pirate ship) a score is played that reminding me of playing any video
game similar to this. It was a nice effect and did add to the atmosphere. Anytime the music is queued up I expected a monster.
Skipping over several plot points, we then meet our other protagonist known as “The Hunter” (Jaa) He is familiar with the “New World” and attempts to help the rangers survive. However this leads to my biggest complaint with the film. I am ok with bad CGI, the editing is what ruined this for me. When the heroes fight a monster it isn’t riddled with jump cuts. When people are fighting each other, it’s impossible to keep up because it keeps cutting back and forth making the narrative incoherent and nauseating. I then remembered the Resident Evil films, the later parts of the saga had this same editing technique, which is TERRIBLE.
This film is the epitome of hit or miss. It was fun, and the monster fights were good entertainment. I liked the cast, and Milla Jovovich was great as usual. This film just needs polish. The plot was paper-thin, the CGI was either great or REALLY bad. Most importantly the editing. Oh, the editing. I’m hopeful this film gets sequels and they lose the jump cuts but I’m not sure this will happen. Regardless it was a fun evening and honestly worth the big screen ticket price for seeing the Monsters up close! Next week we have Wonder Woman 1984, or a new Tom Hanks flick. We will probably review both and stagger them just to give everyone a sneak peak. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas. Stay safe. 3 stars out of 5
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper