Author’s Notes: SPOILERS abound for the movie, but if you don’t really care that much…then charge right in like a ticked off Nergigante.
I admit that I may not know much about the mythos regarding majority of the monsters in Monster Hunter compared to veteran players of the franchise who have been at it since day one; I have only played Monster Hunter World (and in my opinion, I think it’s a decent start but there are previous titles that could immerse me better into it) but as a starting fan…it allowed me to get my feet wet and interact with other players who have possibly played it longer than me.
When I first saw the trailer and saw a few references from Monster Hunter World, my initial reaction was: “This is going to be decent or mediocre at best” since the scenes took visual cues from MHW in terms of character design (the Hunter that your character befriends at the beginning of the game, your Handler, Excitable A-Lister and the Serious Handler [Monster Hunter fans would consider her Bae material]).
Plot-wise…the film seriously took the easy way out and I am not kidding. The opening paragraph sounds like something that I would have seen in other fantasy films (which tells me that they had a mediocre writer at best). The film starts out with the Commission and a few ships trying to get to a Tower that is housed on a volcanic mountain to investigate. However, they’re attacked by 3 Diablos. The Hunter (played by Tony Jaa) gets knocked out while trying to save some of the crew and help right the ship by helping the Admiral (played by Ron Perlman, whom most would recognize easily from the Hellboy films (not the remake) and Pacific Rim) but gets tossed out of the ship when a Diablos throws him off the ship with one of its horns knocking him out. Switch over to modern-day, and we are introduced to Captain Artemis (played by Milla Jovovich, seen in Resident Evil, The Messenger (old film from the 90s regarding Joan of Arc), and the remake of Hellboy as the villain – I will let the readers who have seen the trailers or films put the rest together) and her team investigate the disappearance of Bravo Team from listening to a transmission about a random storm that transported them somewhere and then they suddenly get attacked. Well…moments later, they too are in the same situation. Strange markers act as a conduit in the middle of a desert when a bizarre storm appears out of nowhere.
At this point, I will quickly summarize the rest of the movie based on what I pieced together in the trailer. Artemis’ team gets demolished by both Black Diablos and a swarm of Nerscylla until Artemis is the only survivor left. She runs into the Hunter and despite having a language barrier, manages to slowly help each other by going back to a shipwreck graveyard and getting a weapon for Artemis to use, which happens to be Dual Blades. Both beat the Black Diablos with Artemis acting as bait to get some venom from the Nerscylla as the Hunter uses a Bow and Arrow while Artemis used the Great Sword (Bone by the way) that he was sporting earlier. The pair come across an oasis in which they see a herd of Apsceros grazing and at this point, Artemis is so thirsty that she is about to go to the stream when she gets a surprise attack at a Remobra that leaps out of the water (the scene only lasts a few seconds after the Hunter kills it but the frame itself in which the monster comes out). So, after that happens, we get a slightly amusing BBQ scene (kudos for the references to the game) until the Rathalos shows up, scares off the Apsceros causing a stampede and then the Hunter finds his friends helping him while Artemis and the Admiral try to divert the stampeding Apsceros away with their weapons until she gets knocked out by the Admiral.
From there, she then gets a rundown of the situation after she manages to escape her cell, gets surprised at seeing a Palico, and learns a few things about the Sky Tower in what the Commission is trying to investigate and that a Rathalos is the so-called guardian of the place.
Before I go any further, I mentioned earlier when the scriptwriters took the easy way out in terms of writing…one has to ask…what is the damn obsession with time travel and random portals? The Tower acts as a plot device, so do the markers but…Monster Hunter fans (hardcore ones) would likely recognize certain elements from previous games that were used to shape the plot. Now…while I recognize a few minor elements from watching Youtube videos about the Monster Hunter lore (to further educate myself as a budding Monster Hunter fan), the fact that this was done by Milla’s former husband Paul W.S. Anderson, it didn’t surprise me that he would cast his former wife into the title role.
The group prepares to go to the Tower, Rathalos does a few sneak attacks on some hunters and the rest of the team, until the portals start to become random and Artemis ends up back in the real world. Soldiers get attacked when they try to bring back Artemis to base by Rathalos they get demolished, the Hunter manages to distract Rathalos long enough, and then Artemis improvises using a flare on the Clutch Claw wounding it badly but not killing it. The Hunter manages to use his Bow to fire an arrow right into a small opening created by Artemis to finish it off. The closing scene of which a Gore Magala coming out of the unstable portal with the Admiral, Hunter, and Artemis teaming up to bring it down was a poor attempt at baiting people into thinking that there would be a sequel, but as the Monster Hunter community knows…that will not likely be the case and I already made a quick non-spoiler review on the movie giving my general thoughts and bashing that movie as if I had a Hammer on hand.
So…with that out of the way, general thoughts.
Did they try to get the designs of the monsters correctly in terms of appearance? Almost
Did they get the sounds accurate? Yes
Were the monsters depicted correctly in the film? Not entirely.
Did they virtue signal with the “strong wahman” message like they usually do? Yes, absolutely.
Additional gripes with the movie: Artemis is a freaking nobody from the modern world and despite having a short training session with the Hunter, the script puts on plot armor for this character that people don’t even know. The Admiral appears to be using a SwitchAxe and even the prop people can’t get that right. I don’t know about you guys, but despite trying the game out months ago and giving that weapon a try, there are some engineering mechanics and physics that these people can’t figure out at all regarding this weapon.
A poor attempt at an adaptation of a video game, but almost as bad as the 90s adaptations of other video game titles (Double Dragon, Super Mario Bros.).
I still say 6.0/10 but to a degree, it is a bit tolerable compared to most of the woke films out there.