Monster Movie Mayhem: Monster Hunter


Tiger Media Network

Recently, I noticed that I have yet to review any movies that I dislike. This is because I typically review fairly obscure movies that I want people to check out, but if I only ever reviewed movies that I liked, then the reviews would become predictable and stale. I’ve also been on a bit of a “Monster Hunter” kick lately, playing a lot of “Monster Hunter Generations Ultimate” and recently started a new playthrough of “Monster Hunter World,” so I decided, what better time to review… the “Monster Hunter” movie? 

The plot of “Monster Hunter”… the movie, not the games, is that a group of generic army soldiers get transported to another world and find themselves being attacked by strange monsters. Our protagonist, Artemis, is the only survivor and gets rescued by the Hunter. Yes, that is his official name. However, the two don’t get along at first and are unable to understand each other, but they are forced to work together to escape the desert and get past all of its dangerous beasts. They manage to get rescued by the hunter’s team, and now set their sights on the Tower, which seems to be what’s linking the two worlds together, but it’s guarded by one big Rathalos.

For those reading this who know nothing about the game series this movie is based on, no, this movie is nothing like the games. The video games are far more grounded and simple. It’s about being a hunter coexisting with a hostile world, going out to fight monsters, and then using their hides to make weapons and armor. The movie is far more fantastical, and it honestly makes the film feel extremely generic. Even if you’re not a fan of the games, you’ll probably find the plot dull as it’s a fairly run-of-the-mill “transported to another world and learning the ways” movie with a little “Enemy Mine” thrown in. The whole army team and transporting between worlds thing just flat out isn’t needed, and I think it would have been more interesting to have just seen the world of “Monster Hunter” and what life in it is like. The film’s pacing is also just bizarre, as most of the movie is spent in the desert trying to deal with the Diablos, and then the third act with the Rathalos at the tower feels like it’s from a totally different movie.

When it comes to the characters, they all suck. Artemis is a very generic and boring main character, and I’m sorry, but her actress’s line delivery is atrocious. Her squad of army soldiers are nothing more than cannon fodder, but it doesn’t matter since none of them are interesting. Then there are the various hunters, who are all based on characters from the game like the Admiral, the Handler and Serious Handler, and the Ace Cadet… but in design only. Yeah, they all end up coming across as either stupid or just flat-out jerks, sometimes both, and it feels like a spit in the face. So whether you play the games or not, you’re probably not going to like them. The army soldiers are forgettable, and the hunters are unlikeable.

The main stars of the show are, of course, the monsters, and guess how accurate they are to the games. Yeah, the monsters we get to see are a Black Diablos, a ton of Nerscylla, a Rathalos, a herd of Apceros, and one Cephalos that jumps out of a pond even though the entire gimmick of the Cephalos is that they swim through sand, not water. Anyways, the Black Diablos is the monster they spend the most time dealing with, and I think it’s so bizarre that they went with the subspecies over the normal Diablos. It’s fine, but it’s a very weird choice. Now, does it behave like a Diablos? No. Diablos, while quite aggressive and territorial, are herbivores, so why is this one so desperate to kill our main characters at all costs? I don’t know. 

They end up just turning a pretty cool monster into a Graboid with horns and legs. Then there are the Nerscylla. In the games, they’re gigantic, solitary spider monsters with some pretty interesting ecology that I’ll prevent myself from going into, but here they are turned into a swarm of generic spider monsters that are scared of the sun and lay eggs under your skin, like the spiders from “The Mist.” The Rathalos end up being the most accurate to the games, I guess, the biggest difference being that they hype up the Rathalos as this super powerful, unkillable monster, like it’s a Kirin or something. Even though, in the game, Rathalos is a late mid-game monster. These are all just comparisons to the games; on their own, they still come out as very generic monsters that feel like they’re being pulled from other movies like “Tremors,” “The Mist,” and “Reign of Fire,” and then shoved in here and given a coat of “Monster Hunter” paint. They all end up just being very lame.

The Rathalos after escaping to our world.

The action scenes can also get pretty bad. Some are fine; I think most of the early stuff is tolerable, though there is a pretty weird scene where the Diablos stabs a dude with his horn, and instead of blood, the dude just spits everywhere. However, once the characters get a hold of the giant swords the series is known for, it all goes downhill as they get awkwardly flailed around, and the weapons look like they weigh absolutely nothing as the actors spin around in circles, flailing them around.

I don’t often talk about music in these reviews because it’d typically end up being “the soundtrack is good” or “the soundtrack was fine”, but here it’s terrible. “Monster Hunter” is a series known for its fantastic soundtrack. Its main theme is iconic. Typically, the soundtracks are these grand orchestral scores. The soundtrack of the movie however, sounds like the leftover scraps from “Tron: Legacy” that weren’t good enough for that film. The futuristic techno music just doesn’t fit “Monster Hunter” at all, and there were seriously moments where I thought the audio was messed up because of the soundtrack.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of the games or not; “Monster Hunter” is a terrible movie. Not only is it an atrocious adaptation of the games, but as a movie, it fails by giving us a generic story with characters that are either boring or unlikeable, the monsters are lame, the action ranges from fine to downright terrible, and the music feels totally out of place. And they seriously had the gall to end the film with Gore Magala showing up, have the hunters run towards him, then hard cut to credits. They seriously thought this movie was going to get a sequel? I give this movie two “burnt meat” out of ten.

Connor Keating is a junior at Fort Hays State University, studying digital media and journalism. Connor is an old-school movie fan, particularly Japanese monster movies, and is an avid DVD collector.