Paul W. S. Anderson has not yet committed every atrocity known to mankind, but at this point, he may as well have. Even if that were true it would still be the least of his sins. It seems he is destined to inflict pain and anguish wherever he goes with his terrible movies.
His latest and upcoming crime against all that is good and decent in this world comes much in the form of his previous works. A movie based on another beloved Capcom video game property, Monster Hunter. A game which itself has exploded in popularity in the west very recently with its latest installment.
I don’t know if he has pictures of the CEO of Capcom in some compromising situations, or if the people at Capcom just don’t care about their property when it comes to film adaptations. Either way, they keep giving this hack money (which he subsequently gives to his wife) and he keeps phoning it in by making yet another poor adaptation. It’s a sweet gig if you can get it. At the end of the day, however, it is we the fans who pay the price.
As stated previously this is not the first time he has done this. Paul Anderson is famous among gamers for making some of the worst video game movies of all time. His contributions are many of the reasons why video game movie adaptations have a reputation for being third rate B movies, that no reputable studio would dare fund. And it has been this way for years.
I’m not going to make this entire article a personal attack on Paul W. S. Anderson, God knows it’s tempting. I will however discuss the trailer of his new movie, why I have already removed any hope of it being remotely good, and what’s wrong with video game movies in general.
The Awful Trailer
The trailer starts off like a typical Michael Bay Transformers movie. A military convoy of faceless soldiers makes its way through the desert looking for ‘Bravo Team.’ Among them is Mila Jovovich, the director’s wife. They find Bravo Team’s last tracks, which mysteriously stop dead and they are presumably missing in action. Some magic pillars loom in the distance with all the subtlety of a foghorn.
This is already way out of the franchise’s comfort zone. Why is every military convoy in cinema looking for Bravo Team? I swear it’s an ongoing cliche in bad movies. Why are American soldiers, in what is assumed to be the Middle East, even doing in a Monster Hunter Movie? Unfortunately, it gets dumber.
Suddenly, in order to further the plot, a giant thunder sandstorm just appears from nowhere and swallows up the convoy. This activates the totally subtle pillars and teleports them to the world of Monster Hunter. Why things couldn’t just start in the world of Monster Hunter rather than going to such convoluted lengths to do a fish out of water plot is beyond me, but that’s just how it’s going to be.
Suddenly a Diabolos appears conveniently to attack the army guys and let them know that they ain’t in Kansas no more. This at least is inoffensive. Diabolos looks the part and the same can be said of Rathalos. Unfortunately, they do look like they’re running on high-end gaming PCs and ripped directly from the latest game but it’s better than the alternative I guess.
The trailer shows off Tony Jaa who plays the Hunter. His story is teased as trying to avenge his family after being killed by Rathalos, the movie’s supposed antagonist. Why a tragic and melodramatic backstory is even needed is a mystery. It goes completely against the lighthearted tone of every single game in the franchise.
A montage is played showing Mila Jovovich, the director’s wife, who is seen being a total badass and learning the ways of the force from Tony Jaa. That is, the force that’s been applied to make her the main protagonist of this film. I swear it’s like Paul W. S. Anderson signed a prenuptial agreement to give his wife a lead role in every movie he makes. Which wouldn’t bother anyone if they were in any way good.
The final insult is perhaps the most offensive. The title of the film takes a back seat to the ego of the main star Mila Jovovich, the director’s wife, as the title screen reads ‘Mila Jovovich MONSTER HUNTER’.
Why Are Video Game Movies So Bad?
It’s a running joke that movies based on popular video games are terrible. They seem to be doomed to mediocrity. From Mortal Kombat, which is considered the best of the bad bunch (guess who made that one) to Street Fighter (which is just a campy parody that even Capcom won’t acknowledge officially) or even Super Mario. It seems impossible for any of these to be good.
So long as movies like Monster Hunter continue to be the norm, Capcom, Sony, Nintendo, you name it, are all leaving heaps of cash on the table. There is tremendous potential for a good Monster Hunter film and video game movies in general, but it will not be realised by Paul W. S. Anderson or his wife.
All it takes is one movie. One movie that takes itself seriously enough to treat its source material with respect and try to tell that story to the best of its ability. I’m still waiting for someone to break that mould. Hopefully, rumours of a new Mortal Kombat film will provide hope for the future.
- Monster Hunter: The Movie… That Absolutely No One Wanted - October 18, 2020