Monster Hunter (2020)

Rating: **
Review Date: 4/30/21
Directed By: Paul Anderson
Cast: Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, Ron Perlman

Unless you're Michael Bay or Uwe Boll, there's no excuse for a movie to be this bad. I'm only giving it two stars because the scenery is nice and the music is pleasant. Captain Natalie Artemis (Milla Jovovich) is a tough American Ranger in charge of a small military unit that mysteriously gets transported to an alternate dimension which is teeming with giant monsters. She meets another human in the wasteland (Tony Jaa) and the two of them head towards a dark tower that's presumably the source of their trouble.

The film is essentially one never-ending fight scene, which might be cool except the characters are unlikable and the dialog is appallingly bad. The story also makes no sense, and much like Paul Anderson's other films, it prefers style over substance as it clumsily stumbles through each set piece. Sadly, Tony Jaa is underutilized, and the bonding moments between him and Milla are embarrassingly awful and full of cringe. But at least he looks like he's having a fun time. While Milla Jovovich gives a strong physical performance, her character's personality and behavior are erratic and wildly inconsistent. Her actions make no sense and her dialog is so terrible that you just feel sorry for her. Her appearance is inconsistent as well, and her lipstick is constantly changing. Of course, why she's wearing bold lipstick in the first place is just one of the film's many mysteries. She also looks a bit thin in the face, which brings a lot of attention to her mouth and her alarmingly white teeth. I found that to be extremely distracting throughout the entire picture. I love that Milla is still making action films and that she appears to genuinely enjoy what she does, but this movie feels like it could be the end of her career.

It's an attractive movie for the most part, but it employs a lot of 3D gimmicks as if it were originally intended to be a 3D feature. Anderson's signature moves feel tired and cliché, and numerous aspects of the film were lifted directly from his own "Mortal Kombat" (1995). Even with all of the fast-paced action, the film fails to generate any tension, empathy, or real thrills. It's just a mind-numbing mess of eye candy, which is disappointing, but not surprising.