Monster Hunter is a 2020 fantasy action film written and directed by Paul W. S. Anderson (Resident Evil and sequels; Alien vs. Predator; Event Horizon). It is loosely based on the Capcom video game series of the same name. Produced by Capcom, Impact Pictures and Constantin Film, the movie stars Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, T.I., Ron Perlman, Meagan Good and Diego Boneta.
Behind our world, there is another: a world of dangerous and powerful monsters that rule their domain with deadly ferocity.
When an unexpected sandstorm transports Lieutenant Artemis (Milla Jovovich) and her unit (TI Harris, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta) to a new world, the soldiers are shocked to discover that this hostile and unknown environment is home to enormous and terrifying monsters immune to their firepower. In their desperate battle for survival, the unit encounters the mysterious Hunter (Tony Jaa), whose unique skills allow him to stay one step ahead of the powerful creatures.
As Artemis and Hunter slowly build trust, she discovers that he is part of a team led by the Admiral (Ron Perlman). Facing a danger so great it could threaten to destroy their world, the brave warriors combine their unique abilities to band together for the ultimate showdown.
I found myself chuckling with pleasure at how Anderson stages the set pieces. On the rare occasions when the story settles down for a little character development, it also elicits laughs […] Top quality visual effects work is another plus. CGI monsters can seem boring sometimes, but the ones here are interesting to look at, in addition to having unique attack moves.” The Aisle Seat
“There’s a couple badass heroes with humongous swords, a few big scaly monstrosities, and frequently not much else. The minimalism is consistent with Anderson’s career-long devotion to delivering caloric content with an unlikely combo of classical unities and pounding, insta-dated electronic beats. The movie’s called Monster Hunter—what more could it reasonably need?” AV Club
“The good thing about Monster Hunter is that it moves at a rapid-fire pace that doesn’t allow you much breathing space but makes you aware of its potholes. The creatures and set design are pretty decent, and there are a couple of scenes that have some excellent jumps scares.” Battle Royale with Cheese
“High on energy and fun, but with a pared-back simplicity in every other way. The mythology is as uncomplicated and straightforward as its characters, all the more room to let the exciting set pieces and creatures take center stage. It’s escapism entertainment built for the big screen […] There’s inherent silliness to it all, highlighted by some cheesy writing.” Bloody Disgusting
“It’s not going to change hearts and minds, but seeing a military convoy try to take on Diablos and others is exactly as thrilling as it sounds […] By the end of the film, I didn’t really understand why I was supposed to care about anyone still left alive beyond the fact that they remained on the screen. Monster Hunter is the energy drink of movies; a quick shock of energy followed mostly by a headache.” Comicbook
“The story never gives the illusion of being more than an excuse to fight monsters, and the characters are hardly anything to go by anyway. Computer game adaptations continue to give the feeling that you have to watch someone else play the game for an hour and a half. Silent and frustrated, you long for a controller.” Film Total [translated from Dutch]
“The parts that work, work really well. The same way that 2014’s Godzilla excelled when Godzilla was on the screen, Monster Hunter is a blast when Artemis and the Hunter are fighting the authentically realized monsters. But the movie seems more interested in seeing giant monsters destroying helicopters and Humvees than in exploring its actual interesting setting.” Gamespot
“Monster Hunter is relentlessly terrible even by 2020 standards, as it quickly descends into a dull and colorless bit of bug-hunting that marries the production value of a SyFy Original with the scale of a tutorial level, resulting in one of the drabbest and least imaginative video game movies ever made. Series fans will feel cheated by such a chintzy and incurious take on something they love…” IndieWire
” …the muddled and bland Monster Hunter of the first 60 minutes gives way to a movie with much more originality and personality. Even the fight scenes brighten up, culminating in a stunning-looking standoff between a dragon and a high-end military-grade helicopter. Alas, the good stuff comes too late.” Los Angeles Times
“Throughout its 103 minutes (10 of which are end credits), Monster Hunter never bothers to build an actual mythology; it’s just a bunch of things happening, a few of which elicit a little surface excitement but none of which engage any viewer involvement, since we’re given no reason to care about anyone involved.” Rue Morgue
” …Monster Hunter is boringness itself. Anderson neatly follows the rule that a shot should not stand for longer than 2 to 3 seconds, because imagine that the audience has to look at one shot for too long, they could still fall asleep. However, viewers are more likely to fall asleep from the creatures’ unimaginative design; the monsters look like any average dinosaur and dragon.” Shockkend Nieuws [translated from Dutch]
“Monster Hunter proves unable to sustain the fun of its total disregard for purported mainstream values like originality, character development, and verisimilitude. It’s missing, like much of Anderson’s work, any true B-movie spark. His worst mistake is leaving a venerated character actor like Perlman off the screen for much too long […] Still, this glutted, ultimately bland spectacle is hardly worse than those put out by Marvel and DC.” Slant
Monster Hunter was scheduled for release in the USA on December 25th 2020, however, this has now been brought forward to December 18th. It has already begun to be released in some countries around the world
Meanwhile, in China, a scene was identified as racist. Monster Hunter caused an uproar on Chinese social media because of what was seen as a reference to the playground chant “Chinese, Japanese, dirty knees”. In a scene, MC Jin’s character jokingly asks: “Look at my knees!”, and to the question “What kind of knees are these?”, he replies: “Chi-knees!”. The film has been removed from circulation and Chinese authorities have censored references to it online.
Responding to the controversy, Paul W.S. Anderson has apologised and confirmed that the controversial line has been completely removed from the movie: “I am absolutely devastated that a line from our movie, Monster Hunter, has offended some audience members in China,” he said. “I apologise for any anxiety or upset that this line and its interpretation caused. Monster Hunter was made as fun entertainment and I am mortified that anything within it has caused unintentional offence. We have respectfully removed the line from the movie. It was never our intention to send a message of discrimination or disrespect to anyone. To the contrary — at its heart, our movie is about unity.”
Cast and characters:
Milla Jovovich … Artemis
Ron Perlman … Admiral
Tony Jaa … The Hunter
T.I. … Link
Jannik Schümann … Aiden
Aaron Beelner … Palico – Slaw; The House with a Clock in Its Walls; Superstition TV series; Stan Against Evil TV series; Boo! A Madea Halloween; Scary Movie 5
Schelaine Bennett … Comms Officer
Adrián Muñoz … Hunter 2
Trailers and clips: