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August 1, 2022

A Binge too Far #25: Paul W.S. Anderson’s Video Game Adaptation Film Vault duo (2020 – 2021)

Stunning Monster Hunter (2020) promotional art

This month we look at two recent video game adaptations from the usual suspect, Hollywood darling Paul W.S. Anderson.




Monster Hunter (2020) poster

Monster Hunter 


While an UN operation team led by Captain Artemis (the always dreamy but tough action star MillaJovovich) are somehow teleported to another world, it has to fight a variety of giant monsters (some of them resembling dinosaurs and some others even arachnids). Will the soldiers find a way to get back to where they came from, or even survive the unpredictable mission?


Based upon the same-titled video game by Capcom, this work from writer/director/producer Paul W.S. Anderson (no introduction needed), is delivering what it sets out to do: MillaJovovich and other soldiers against alien monsters. It does so in spades, relying heavily on the expected CGI, but also some visceral imagery, some of it involving wounds and/or spiders.


A passion project for its director, this was in development since 2012, but it was officially announced in 2018, which was also the year it was shot. It was released in theaters a couple of years later. The way the film is set (from the fairy-tale like opening, to the mythology and world established later on) as well as its open ending, reveal that a franchise was in the works, but it grossed a mere $44.5 million, on a $60 million budget, so unfortunately, you shouldn’t hold your breath for getting any more of this.


Resident Evil: Welcome to...

Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City


Set in the late 1990s this prequel to the long-running eponymous franchise (2002 – 2016) that was based on the same-titled zombie video games, is the origin story of Spencer Mansion and the titular city that in conjunction with the evil plans of the Umbrella corporation unleashed chaos to the world, in the form of living dead creatures that constitute the perfect killing machines.


Written by Johannes Roberts (who also directed), this has a Claudio Fragasso-level plot, so silly and naïve that Bruno Mattei would be proud of, but it is all salvaged by some Dario Argento-influenced aesthetic sensibilities, so good in fact that the end result is much more horrifying and atmospheric than anything done previously within the confines of these film series. It is also low-key for most of its running time, but the ending is a grotesque masterpiece. The fact that the soundtrack is killer too adds bonus points in this overall winner opus.


Because this reboot is MillaJovovich-less and Paul W.S. Anderson restrained himself in a mere executive producer credit, and since its inception back in 2017 the original director and writer team (James Wan and Greg Russo respectively) were replaced by the aforementioned Johannes Roberts [known for helming 47 Meters Down (2017) and 47 Meters Down: Uncaged (2019)], things didn’t look good, and when reshoots were ordered people thought that this was doomed from the get-go, but it went on to gross a respectable $41.9 million on a $25 million budget, so there has already been some talk on sequels.

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