Paul W.S. Anderson’s MONSTER HUNTER

Lovers of spatially-coherent action movies rejoice! Paul W.S. Anderson and Milla Jovovich, the director/actress team best known for the RESIDENT EVIL franchise, are back with a new fantasy film adaptation of a video game. Personally, I haven’t played a video game since I was a kid in the 1980s – and am therefore unqualified to discuss MONSTER HUNTER in relation to its “faithfulness” to Capcom’s popular series of games – but I do know cinema and I can say that, as a piece of filmmaking, Anderson’s latest succeeds spectacularly. The premise is simple: While reconnoitering in the desert, U.S. Army Captain Natalie Artemis (Jovovich) accidentally crosses over into a parallel world populated by giant monsters with whom she must do battle while trying to make her way back home. The script, written by Anderson, is probably the leanest he’s ever worked with and the result is one of his best films. This movie is pretty much nothing but Milla Jovovich fighting big, badass CGI monsters, which variously look like overgrown insects, dragons and mutated dinosaurs. In many ways, this feels like a silent film — one particularly terrifying scene in which Artemis is trapped by spider-like creatures in a cave is as elemental as Fritz Lang’s DIE NIBELUNGEN. What little there is in the way of plot has to do with Artemis’s relationship to a man known as “The Hunter” (Thai actor/martial artist Tony Jaa), a native of this treacherous world who speaks no English but on whom she must learn to rely as a helper and guide. The chemistry between Jovovich and Jaa gives the movie its heart but, along the way, Ron Perelman and a giant sword-wielding cat also pop up and add to the fun. It’s too bad that most critics won’t take MONSTER HUNTER seriously based on its pedigree when it deserves to be discussed alongside MAD MAX: FURY ROAD and THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, spectacle films with which it earns legitimate points of comparison.

MONSTER HUNTER opens in theaters this Friday, December 18. Visit the film’s official website for info on tickets and showtimes.


About michaelgloversmith

Filmmaker, author and Film Studies instructor. View all posts by michaelgloversmith

4 responses to “Paul W.S. Anderson’s MONSTER HUNTER

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