Movie Review: Monster Hunter (2020)

Synopsis: While searching for missing soldiers in the Middle East, an Army Ranger, Capt. Artemis, and her squad encounter a strange storm that transports them to a desert world that is full of giant, deadly, creatures. When the rest of her team is killed, Artemis finds herself partnering with some of the world's native humans in an effort to both return home and shut down a portal connecting the two worlds.

Who's in it? The movie stars Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, Ron Perlman, Diego Boneta and Meagan Good.

Review: This movie has been in my library for several weeks, but I have avoided watching it mostly because I wasn't familiar with the video game it is based after and didn't really know what to expect from it. My wife and I finally got around to watching it yesterday evening and, while I didn't like it quite as much as some other video-game-inspired movies, did think it was an OK film.

I think the one thing I really liked about this movie was the almost non-stop action. The film does a great job introducing the main characters while not making the viewer wait for something to happen. And, I have to admit, that first action sequence when Artemis (Jovovich) and her squad arrive on the other world was pretty darn exciting, especially when they went from escaping one monster only to run into a cavern full of other monsters.

Another thing I think really worked for this movie was the simple plot. Some movies are just better when the writers don't overthink the hero's main objective and focus primarily on the stuff that happens to them on the way. This movie is a perfect example of that. Her primary objective was to get home. Everything else just made that objective more fun to watch.

I did think the movie did stretch some believability boundaries by having Artemis and the Hunter (Jaa) survive some pretty wicked stuff. Since they are the stars of the film, there is naturally some expectation of this but there are only so many times when you can watch a character get thrown through the air and through rock pillars without questioning why they aren't dead or, at least, have multiple broken bones. At minimum, it would have been nice if the movie would have taken a few seconds to give some sort of explanation for this (no matter how plausible), such as them wearing special armor or something.

My bigger complaint about the movie, however, is the way it doesn't make any real effort to give a proper introduction to any of the characters. All I really knew about Artemis, for example, was she was an Army Ranger and was married (or used to be married). The Hunter's background was just as sparse, and the Admiral's (Perlman) bio was mostly he was in charge of a small army and could speak English.

It was even worse with the secondary characters, who were mostly given very basic personalities and killed almost immediately. I'm not saying the movie should have given them detailed backstories, but it would have been nice to know enough about them to make me care when they died.

Final Opinion: As I said, it wasn't as good as some other movies that were created as the result of a popular video game franchise. However, it still ended up being a halfway decent action film and my wife and I did enjoy it enough to consider watching the sequel.

My Grade: B


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