Monster Hunter: A Movie You’ll Want to Miss

It begins on an alternate world where a group of pirates on an old galley ship battle a leviathan-like SAND CREATURE that weaves its way above and below the waves of sand. Here we meet a badly wigged Ron Pearlman as ship Captain and Muy Thai phenom, Tony Jaa, as one of his crew who gets tossed overboard and is left for dead.

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A U.S. military group on a mission to find a missing patrol in a somewhat rocky terrain that I guess is supposed to be Afghanistan. Here we meet Milla Jovovich as Captain Artemis (hereinafter dubbed “The Ranger”) heading her troop and joining in a happy sing-along before a humongous storm whisks them through a portal.

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OZ, a.k.a, the sand planet – “Where’d all this sand come from?” asks one astute soldier – where Jaa, hereinafter dubbed “The Hunter” has been camping out all alone. The military unit soon discovers giant bleached sand creature bones and the incinerated remains of their previously missing compatriots.

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Another giant sand creature comes calling on them. So, The Hunter leaps into action, firing super long-distance deadly arrows that the soldiers initially believe to be a further assault from cliffs high above their position. They run into caves where giant SPIDERS attack, cocooning and laying eggs in some of them (a la “Alien”), and killing all but one, The Ranger. She makes her way out of the cave, exhausted, injured and frightened only to be beset upon by The Hunter who attacks her for no good reason. He drags her back to his spider-proofed lair where he ties her up and taunts her by depriving her of water as he prays to two figurines on a makeshift altar (a la “Gladiator”).

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The Ranger cutting herself free. She and The Hunter beat the shit out of each other and virtually destroy the lair. He tumbles outside and falls partially down a spider-cave shaft and is holding on for dear life when The Ranger decides, for no good reason, to save him. Perhaps she finally figured out that killing the only person who knows anything about the planet and its nasty creatures, where you’re marooned, might not be a good idea. But we’ll never know. In any case, they bond over a few bites of a half-melted chocolate bar (a la “Stargate”).

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The friendship strengthens, despite a serious language barrier. He teaches her the way of the fiery doubled-cross sword fighting technique.

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They make their way to an oasis where friendly sand-planet DINOSAURS gather at the watering hole. He catches a different nasty beast that attacks from the water and they have a lovely dinner under the stars – when suddenly, there’s a Dino stampede caused by an aerial assault from fire-breathing DRAGONS.

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Salvation by way of The Hunter’s friends who save them by dropping in from their pirate ships. The Ranger is once again taken captive and chained in a cell. She’s pissed. She manages to break free and comes face to face with a human-sized GOURMET CAT CHEF (seriously) who’s cooking up a brew of something in the galley.

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The Captain explains what the deal is, why he speaks perfect English (because others like The Ranger have been sucked through the portal before, blah, blah, blah) and he’s got to go to the TOWER which is fueled by lava to destroy it to close the portal or something like that. The Gourmet Cat Chef serves the Captain his drink with a hairball in it then winks goodbye to The Ranger.

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The journey to the Tower and a giant battle with the fire-breathing Dragons. The Ranger is told they are weakest just before they shoot their flames (a la “Reign of Fire”). She proves herself to be a super-duper hero Dragon slayer.

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Just when you think the movie should be nearing an end, it keeps going to the point where you’re now certain a title card’s going to pop up saying “To Be Continued”, but nah, it just ends.

Monster Hunter was directed by Paul W.S. Anderson who also wrote it with Kaname Fujioka (video game series ).

Review by Ginger Marin

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