If you were an OG PlayStation 2 Owner you probably are more than a little familiar with a franchise called Monster Hunter from the era that brought so many Japanese fantasy titles to our shores. Now with the power of Sony films behind it and a VERY long run of gaming films it seems about the right time for this classic to make its way to bring the same over the top story telling to the big screen.
While some will lay claim to owning an original japanese Famicom and original Nintendo titles it really was Sony and Playstation that forever set what japanese non-pokemon gaming is for many. With titles like Final Fantasy finding an audience outside of Japan and the Resident Evil series not only spawning many next gen titles but a long running cashcow of a movie franchise for Sony before ending in 2016 with it’s sixth film, Sony has just laid claim to it’s next long term franchise from the video game realm – Monster Hunter.
For those who haven’t picked up on it yet, Monster Hunter was originally a PlayStation 2 title released in 2004. Developed by Capcom (known for so many things including Street Fighter 2), Monster Hunter was one of the first open world type games. Taking on the mantle of an up and coming ‘Monster Hunter’ in a fantasy realm you would be tasked with Hunting/Gathering/Capture type quests which more often than not focused on Monsters much larger than yourself.
While not quite Shadow of the Colossus level sized (though they did get bigger as the franchise continued) your character would gear up to progress with your gear more defining the level of monsters you would encounter with the game not following a traditional RPG model as your base character would not level. More successful in Japan than overseas Monster Hunter still spawned multiple sequels with Monster Hunter 2 also on the Playstation 2, a Wii version, a Nintendo 3DS version and most recently Monster Hunter World across PlayStation 4 and Xbox One with a new Nintendo Switch game planned for this year (and we are even skipping over the 11 spin off games).
Just hitting cinemas after a brief pandemic related delay is the the latest film from the recently ended Resident Evil franchise director Paul W.S. Anderson and Resident Evil franchise star (who is also married to Paul W.S. Anderson) Milla Jovovich. Going the adaption path rather than recreation of the Monster Hunter lore (which honestly is probably a wise choice), the world of Monster Hunter is set in another dimension parallel with our own.
Reachable by gateway we first enter the portal with Leeloo’s company of Army Rangers who are investigating the disappearance of another company of Army Rangers. It isn’t long into the crossing before Alice’s Army Rangers encounter a Diablo, the giant sand burrowing dragon that you probably saw a lot about in the trailers. And that is probably all you really need to know to be honest, because this is the first chapter of Monster Hunter and it absolutely knows it.
Definitely falling in the realm of action flick this is not a single beast movie with multiple creatures Monster Hunter gamers will recognise making an appearance and even the Palico (cats) of Monster Hunter getting an adaption. Much like the games, creatures in this world are not pushovers with the Hunters having to gather resources to be able to continue on their quest but still managing to deliver with some satisfying big screen action sequences.
So should you go see it? Honestly just seeing a blue eyed blonde haired Ron Perlman might be worth the cost of entry for most but as the first movie in clearly a franchise this is a great fun action film for you to enjoy in air con and eat popcorn while forgetting about the outside world for a while. If you are looking for the next Casablanca then possibly you should skip and movie based on a video game but if you are looking for giant monsters boss fights with that chick from the Fifth Element that you like, this will tick those boxes.
Monster Hunter is in cinemas across Australia now