Hunting Coherence

Know that editing tick Sam Raimi uses? The one where he rapidly cuts between someone arming themselves, piece-by-piece, or maybe putting on a suit? That’s Monster Hunter. All of Monster Hunter.

If dialed up, Monster Hunter’s average shot length is likely 0.6 seconds. It appreciates nothing, no matter how wide the vistas are, or how grand the digital effects want to look. In casting Tony Jaa, noted for his spectacular, long cut fight scenes, the creative team obliterates his screen talents.

Monster Hunter’s instant-on action forgoes grounding or lore

Monster Hunter is based on a videogame made in Japan, distilled into a movie designed for Chinese tastes, and still enamored with American militarism. It’s not enough Milla Jovovich hacks at giant monsters so much as she’s trained in the American way, capable of learning how to use mystical fire weapons after a single montage. That’s a method to appease both cultures – one understanding the dedication to fight, the other linked to hand-to-hand martial arts and/or swordplay.

This latest entry into “short attention span theater” suggests videogame players lack patience for… anything, really. Monster Hunter’s instant-on action forgoes grounding or lore, spending 20-minutes on hectic action, obnoxiously cut together before any semblance of story can squeeze through. Weapons and characters from the game appear, but it’s otherwise non-descript fantasy, more interested in a real world approach based in machine guns and tanks as to not lose a domestic audience. The chef cat and a shaggy Ron Perlman wait until the final act, when it’s too late to leave.

Other than Jaa and Jovovich, human characters stay sidelined for much of Monster Hunter; the rest earn cameos at best, some no more than background filler, nameless too. Speaking takes up runtime not inundated by visual effects. The goal? A tower that can take Jovovich back to the real world. That’s it, the whole story, listless were it not for the impatient edits.

For a finale, the mega boss monster assaults a military convoy. Fireballs and destruction spread across an empty desert, that sand effectively simulating Monster Hunter’s depth – overheated and vacant of any life.

Video

For what’s likely a 2K source, Monster Hunter shows exemplary definition. Open desert sun dresses the scenery, allowing facial definition to shine. Wide shots show the best environmental textures, sand no challenge to this disc. Individual grains define flawlessly, even from afar. CG monster skin/scales/hides make use of the available resolution, transferred to this disc sans any problems.

White desert backdrops skew a touch yellow, but still bold. The limited palette favors drier hues, mostly exaggerated earth tones, primarily browns and greens. Night drops to a gray-ish blue, a change, and likewise limited via the grading.

Firm HDR dazzles in black levels, giving Monster Hunter visual weight (some crush aside). Shadows do not shy from using pure black, same as the contrast doesn’t fear intensely bright elements. Sun and sand both produce blinding nits, offering UHD’s fullest potential firmness.

Audio

Not an Atmos track aiming for subtle, the mix whips around the soundstage during the near constant action. Skittering insects travel as they pass, overhead, surrounds, and stereos included. Bigger beasties slam their legs down in specific speakers, while their roars rush through each speaker. Ratholos flies about, heights included. The design mirrors that of a game in how it follows the camera movement.

Unapologetic bass doesn’t hold back, this – pun totally intended – a monster. Giant, tight, rumbling low-end accentuates everything from explosions to creature footfalls. The intensity continues into the weighted score, utilizing the subwoofer almost constantly. A spectacle through and through.

The only concern lies with the dialog, which oddly loses its fidelity in a few opening scenes with Jovovich, then again later. It’s as if post-production didn’t finish.

Extras

Beginning with an eight-minute EPK on the characters, the follow-up spends a few more minutes on translating the game into a movie. A five-minute look into the weapons segues into two deleted scenes, both involving a joke scene that led to some controversy.

Monster Hunter
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
2

Movie

Messily edited and vapid, even by Paul W.S. Anderson videogame movie standards, Monster Hunter is a dud.

Sending
User Review
1 (1 vote)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 52 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: