Monster Hunter

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Monster Hunter Movie Poster Image
Loud, violent video game adaptation is mostly forgettable.
  • PG-13
  • 2020
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 12 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Promotes teamwork, courage, and perseverance in the face of seemingly unbeatable odds. Stresses the importance of mutual respect and collaboration among people who speak different languages and come from different backgrounds.

Positive Role Models

Artemis is a brave, strong, and disciplined captain who cares about her crew. She sacrifices her safety to try to save her team and, later, the Hunter. The Hunter is also courageous and compassionate. The cast is racially and ethnically diverse, but most of the characters don't stay alive long enough to merit discussion. The two main characters are a White woman and an otherworldly character played by an ethnically Asian man.

Violence

Tons of action/fantasy violence: People are attacked, impaled, crushed, burned to death, and eaten by the giant, animal-like monsters. Humans use a combination of modern and ancient weapons against the creatures: guns, crossbows, hand grenades, tanks, helicopters, fighter planes, explosives, swords, and spears. Monsters are shown eating people or crushing their skulls, with torsos and legs hanging out of their mouths. In one graphic scene, a character's stomach erupts with baby spider monsters. A couple of scenes involve human-on-human violence, with a man punching a woman in the face and soldiers trying to shoot the Hunter.

Sex
Language

Infrequent: a couple uses of "s--t," several "hells" and "godammits," and a few exclamations of "Jesus" and "oh my God."

Consumerism

Nothing on screen, but the movie is a promotional tie-in to the popular video game franchise.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Artemis and the Hunter drink out of a flask; while it isn't clear what they drink, Artemis winces/gasps as if it's something strong.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Monster Hunter is a violent video game-based action/fantasy adventure in which a group of soldiers ends up crossing into another dimension, where giant carnivorous monsters kill the few humans around. The captain of the Ranger unit, played by Milla Jovovich, teams up with a mysterious Hunter (Tony Jaa) to fight the massive. frightening creatures. As in the video games, there's there's violence in nearly every scene, some of it jump-worthy, as the humans try to kill every monster that crosses their paths. Humans and monsters are destroyed by a variety of weapons: guns, grenades, heavy artillery, crossbows, spears, swords, and more. Many characters die: People are crushed, dismembered, burned to death, and eaten. Strong language is infrequent but includes "s--t," "goddammit," and religious exclamations. The movie is likely to appeal most to fans of the game franchise (who will understand the world-building) or fantasy-adventure enthusiasts. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDokimas December 31, 2020

Good video game action movie with one terrible horror scene.

I am going to *SPOIL* one very scary scene towards the start.

I have six kids ages 2-12. I brought my 12 year old son. I loved Milla Jovovich in Fifth Elemen... Continue reading
Adult Written byZzbear January 1, 2021

Great Imagination of the Game

Really great movie! It’s based on the x-box game but you wouldn’t know it. It has several new characters and a very interesting plot. The monsters are very good... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bythemovieman123 March 30, 2021

Milla Jovovich's best film since resident evil.

Great film but some scenes are just too disgusting. I bought 20$ worth of popcorn, candy and coca cola and a scene at the mid-beginning ruined my appetite. It w... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bySeagulls19 January 23, 2021

Amazing film with great action!

This film had a very strong female lead, which is something we need more of in media today. The rest of the cast was also very diverse, which I also thought was... Continue reading

What's the story?

Monster Hunter is an action movie based on the Monster Hunter: World video game. Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson, the undisputed king of video game adaptations, the film stars Milla Jovovich as Capt. Artemis. She leads an Army Ranger squad that drives through a desert storm that's actually a portal to another world, where -- one by one -- they're picked off by huge dinosaur, spider, dragon, and sea creature-like monsters that are intent on killing all of them. Emerging as the sole survivor of her team, Artemis teams up with a mysterious Hunter (Tony Jaa) who knows about the various creatures and how to best kill them. Together, the Hunter -- who speaks an unknown language -- and Artemis find a way to communicate and train to kill more of the beasts and hopefully find a way to get her back to Earth.

Is it any good?

As video game-based movies go, this isn't the worst, because spouses Anderson and Jovovich know what they're doing -- but it's still a forgettable compilation of violent CGI effects. At this point, Anderson owes his career to turning video games into movies, and his Resident Evil star-turned-wife is his fierce, fabulous muse. Despite dismal reviews, the Resident Evil franchise has a sizable following, so it's possible that Monster Hunter will strike the same chord. But for audiences who are unfamiliar or uninterested in the game, the movie has little to offer beyond a seemingly unending sequence of violent battles between humans and beasts. But the tension is underwhelming, as is any investment in the characters (even Artemis and the Hunter remain unknowable).

There are a few moments of levity, such as when Artemis gives the Hunter her stash of chocolate and he demands more, or in the inevitable training montage when she learns to use his armor and weapons, but they fall short of humanizing the characters. This is definitely not a buddy adventure, nor is it a character study of warriors strategizing and overcoming rough odds. It's just a show of humanity-versus-beast violence -- and not a creative show at that. Then again, these movies never pretend to be something they're not, and there's clearly an audience for them. Don't expect substantive world building, back stories, or plot explanations, just artillery-spraying, human-crunching action. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Monster Hunter. Is it necessary to the movie? Does fantasy violence impact viewers differently than realistic violence? 

  • How do the movie's characters demonstrate teamworkperseverance, and courage? Why are these important character strengths?

  • The movie has been boycotted in China because of a joke about "Chi-knees" included in previews that was later deleted. What responsibility do screenwriters and filmmakers have to be thoughtful about the use of racist or insensitive language in their films?

  • What do you think about the genre of video game-to-movie adaptations? Which one is your favorite? How does this one compare to the others?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy action

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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