It’s been a little while since we’ve watched Paul W.S. Anderson hack apart a beloved videogame franchise, hasn’t it? The director of oh-so-many Resident Evil films (and many others) has made a career out of making very loosely adapted videogame properties ever since the massive camp success of the first Mortal Kombat in the 1990s, and most of those films have starred his wife, actress Milla Jovovich. The new Monster Hunter, which received its first full trailer today, is no exception.
A co-production of the U.S., Canada, Germany, China and Japan, Monster Hunter has some very obvious international flair, and we can’t help but assume this has been tailored from the ground up to do big business in the Chinese market in particular. It’s a fantasy action thriller, starring Jovovich as the leader of “an elite military force” that is thrust through a mysterious portal into a world populated by giant monsters. There, the team meets a hunter, played by Thai martial arts icon Tony Jaa, who helps them learn to fight monsters as they seek a way back to our own world.
That setup is pure W.S. Anderson—rather than a straight-up adaptation of the source material, he chooses to thrust modern characters into it, making references to real-world pop culture. One of them literally quips “So what, are we like Guardians of the Galaxy now?” in this trailer, illustrating the depths of shameless referencing we’re talking about here.
On the plus side, however, the action and CGI of Monster Hunter actually looks pretty impressive, although we have a feeling that the majority of the film will likely take place before the team (or just Jovovich) are outfitted in weapons and armor reminiscent of the long-running videogame series. Regardless, the film also stars Tip “T.I.” Harris, Meagan Good, Diego Boneta, Josh Helman, Jin Au-Yeung and Ron Perlman for some true B-movie gravitas. The trailer doesn’t skimp on showing off some of the series’ most iconic monsters either, including what looks like a Diablos and a Rathalos.
Monster Hunter is currently set for a U.S. release on Dec. 30, 2020—in theaters, but we’d bet that a VOD release will likely follow almost immediately. Check out the full trailer below.