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Paul WS Anderson
Milla Jovovich, Tony Jaa, Ron Perlman
Writing Credits:
Paul WS Anderson

When Captain Artemis and her loyal soldiers are transported to a new world, they engage in a desperate battle for survival against enormous enemies with incredible powers. MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Descriptive Service
French Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 103 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 3/2/2021

• “The Monster Hunters” Featurette
• “For the Players” Featurette
• “Monstrous Arsenal” Featurette
• 2 Deleted Scenes
• Previews


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-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Monster Hunter [Blu-Ray] (2020)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 26, 2021)

After a four-year break from feature films, director Paul WS Anderson returns with 2020’s Monster Hunter. Based on the video game of the same name, the flick offers a mix of fantasy and action.

In the midst of a mission, a crew led by Army Ranger Captain Natalie Artemis (Milla Jovovich) encounters a bizarre storm. When it engulfs them, Artemis and team find themselves literally transported to another world.

In this realm, massive monsters rule the roost. Aided by a Hunter (Tony Jaa) from a different civilization, Artemis needs to survive and figure out how to get home.

Unlike the oft-confused-for Paul Thomas Anderson, Paul WS Anderson long ago proved himself to be the definition of a journeyman filmmaker. When you go a WS flick, you probably won’t find a cinematic atrocity, but you also seem unlikely to encounter anything especially creative or inspired.

This tendency carries through to the wholly lackluster Hunter, though I lean toward an appraisal more negative than positive. While the movie does enough to keep us mildly engaged, it never threatens to overcome the inherent mediocrity of its director.

I don’t want to come down too hard on Anderson, as some of his flicks work pretty well. For instance, the original Resident Evil became a reasonably good action entry.

However, even that movie didn’t really excel, and it stands among a slew of generally meh efforts from Anderson. He knows how to create competent action flicks on reasonable budgets – like the relatively cheap $60 million cost of Hunter - but Anderson just lacks the skill to do anything special.

Thus we end up with a bland mishmash like Hunter, a flick that clearly wears its influences on its sleeve. Because I never played the source video games, I don’t know how much of the story comes from that mythology, but I do recognize a slew of other inspirations on display.

It doesn’t take much to identify the links to Tolkien and Frank Herbert here. We also get obvious nods to the Alien and Jurassic Park franchises as well as every movie that required two foes from different cultures to unite against a common enemy.

The relentlessly derivative nature of Hunter would seem less problematic if it attempted any form of actual plot. Brief as my synopsis might seem, it probably overstates the thematic and emotional depth of the film, for the end result instead consists of little more than one loud action scene after another.

And a few of these connect, aided by surprisingly good visual effects. Given that even the most expensive movies often come with less than convincing beasties, I expected the worst from the “cheap” $60 million Hunter, but the various monsters seem well-rendered. They feel semi-believable and give the movie its strongest punch.

As for the action scenes, though, they suffer from Anderson’s refusal to let them play out in a coherent manner. He seems unable to allow a shot to linger more than a fraction of a second, so all the fights that should feel exciting just become scattered and confusing.

Truthfully, Hunter goes down as a fairly painless 103 minutes, even if its obvious sequel-bait finale rubs me the wrong way. However, it never looks to give us anything more than a passable stab at action and fantasy, so the prospective viewer can certainly do better.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A/ Bonus C-

Monster Hunter appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a high-quality presentation.

Sharpness worked well at all times. No obvious signs of softness marred the image, so the movie felt well-defined and precise.

I noticed no signs of jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. The image also lacked any signs of source defects, so it stayed clean.

In terms of palette, Hunter opted for a standard mix of teal and orange. Though these hues didn’t light up the screen, they made sense for the material and came through as well-rendered.

Blacks seemed dense and dark, whereas shadows looked smooth and clear. I thought the image satisfied.

In addition, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack offered a strong affair as well. As expected, the movie’s action-oriented scenes fared best, as they used gunfire, creatures, vehicles and explosions to fill the room in a compelling manner.

The film’s score used the spectrum well, too, and quieter effects suited the story. These created a nice sense of place and acted to involve the viewer.

Audio quality satisfied, with speech that appeared natural and concise. Music seemed full and rich, with crisp highs and deep bass.

Effects followed suit and created dynamic material, as the various components showed fine range and impact. Bass response became deep and aggressive. The movie used the audio well so this became a solid track.

Three featurettes appear, and The Monster Hunters runs seven minutes, 51 seconds. It brings comments from director Paul WS Anderson, producer Jeremy Bolt, and actors Milla Jovovich, Josh Helman, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta, Tip “TI” Harris, Ron Perlman and Tony Jaa.

“Hunters” looks at story/characters as well as cast and performances. A few modest insight result, but much of this offers general happy talk.

For the Players spans six minutes, 40 seconds and includes notes from Anderson, Jovovich, Bolt, producer Robert Kulzer, production designer Edward Thomas, costume designer Danielle Knox and Perlman.

“Players” looks at the source video game and its adaptation for the screen as well as locations and creature design. Though more informative than “Hunters”, “Players” still leans too much toward praise and fluff.

Finally, Monstrous Arsenal fills five minutes, two seconds with comments from Jovovich, Anderson, prop master Kerry von Lillienfeld and actor Jannik Schümann.

Here we get notes about the weapons featured in the film. It delivers another passable but lackluster piece.

Two Deleted Scenes show up: “Steeler Joke #1” (1:31) and “Steeler Joke #2” (1:53). These offer alternate versions of sequences already in the movie, so both seem superfluous.

The disc opens with ads for Ghostbusters: Afterlife, The Craft: Legacy, and Kingslaive: Final Fantasy XV. No trailer for Hunter appears here.

After a long career of mediocrity, director Paul WS Anderson shows no signs of a filmmaking renaissance, and Monster Hunter delivers more of the usual from him. While watchable enough, the movie never becomes anything better than meh. The Blu-ray offers terrific picture and audio with a modest roster of bonus materials. Though not a bad movie, Hunter also never delivers anything memorable.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.8 Stars Number of Votes: 5
0 3:
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