Review: Entertainingly dumb 'Monster Hunter' hits its marks

Milla Jovovich, big weapons, gigantic creatures. You were expecting a thoughtful drama?

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic
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Well, you can't say it doesn't make good on its premise. 

In "Monster Hunter," Milla Jovovich hunts monsters. Huge ones. The kinds of monsters you want from a movie called "Monster Hunter," creatures that look like they've been born out of some unholy amalgam of "Starship Troopers," "Tremors" and "Eight Legged Freaks." Throw in a little bit of "Mad Max" and remove all semblance of intelligence and you have a big, dumb, fun ride that gets more fun the dumber and bigger it gets. 

Milla Jovovich and Tony Jaa in "Monster Hunter."

Jovovich stars as US Army Ranger Captain Natalie Artemis, who along with her crew of soldiers gets trapped in a lightning storm and sucked into a wormhole, spat out on the other end into a parallel dimension where she's surrounded by gigantic sand-dwelling monsters. That she begins to hunt these monsters is no surprise, nor is it that the movie is based on the "Monster Hunter" video game franchise, which has been thrilling gamers since the far-gone days of the PS2. 

Her crew — which includes characters played by Diego Boneta, Meagan Good and Clifford "T.I." Harris, whose hokey exit will provide his opponents' fodder in any future rap beefs — isn't around for long, as Artemis eventually teams with the Hunter (Tony Jaa), a desert pirate who teaches her the way fighting off the giant spider-like beasties. Would you guess that a training montage ensues?  

"Monster Hunter" is helmed by Paul W.S. Anderson, the video-game-to-film maestro who directed 1995's "Mortal Kombat" as well as three of the "Resident Evil" films with Jovovich, his wife. It's the kind of mindless, check-your-brain-at-the-door action adventure that has been mostly shelved this year, and feels strangely comforting as 2020 winds to a close. It's not self-aware enough to qualify as camp, or self-satisfied enough to be smug. It simply aims low and delivers, and right now, that's enough. 

'Monster Hunter'

GRADE: B-

Rated PG-13: for sequences of creature action and violence throughout

Running time: 103 minutes

Opens Friday at Ford-Wyoming Drive-In

agraham@detroitnews.com

@grahamorama

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