The Last Witch Hunter
Starring Vin Diesel, Elijah Wood, Michael Caine, Rose Leslie
This is the first new franchise Vin Diesel has appeared in since 2008. Diesel’s work for the past decade is full of “Fast & Furious” sequels with some “Riddick” sequels thrown in. “The Last Witch Hunter”, which is basically inserting Diesel into an “Underworld” type franchise, is set up for further installments. Diesel, being the one-note-actor he is, reads the script, fights the bad guys, saves the day and drives a fast car. As with any film featuring the niche actor, the validity of the film relies on supporting cast, script, and subject matter. Michael Caine (“The Dark Knight”) barely has any screen time; If you know anything about Elijah Wood’s movie taste you can already guess what type of character he is playing. That being said “The Last Witch Hunter” is a predictable, dark, action packed, mess of a movie.
800 years ago Kaulder destroyed the most powerful Witch Queen of the era, but not before she cursed him with immortality. Kaulder has hunted witches for centuries, feared by their kind. Now in modern day, a new order, Axe & Cross keep the piece and allow witches to live a normal life if they leave humans alone. Dolan 36 (Caine) has been Kaulder’s handler, friend, and priest for thirty years, yet an attack on his life throws the order and peace of Axe & Cross into disarray. Dolan 37 (Wood) is appointed as Kaulder’s new handler, and they begin uncovering a dark magical spell that aims to bring back the Witch Queen. Kaulder’s secret weapon is dream walking witch Chloe (Leslie) who helps him uncover the deceit of the past.
There isn’t much for non-Diesel fans to enjoy.
Familiarity with any new aged vampire (“Dracula Untold”) witch (“Snow White and the Huntsman”), or other monster films clue you into expectations for “The Last Witch Hunter”. It isn’t boring, that’s the one element it has going for it. This film exists only to further the box office power of Diesel who has found himself in that rare territory Liam Neeson had a few years ago, or Sylvester Stallone before him. Certain actors have gargantuan hits that propel them into a category, which regardless of the quality, produces revenue due to the massive fan appeal. There is no doubt with the October release and coming off the “Furious 7” box office, Diesel, will have another franchise in his basket (“Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Riddick”, “XxX”, “Fast & Furious”).
Breck Eisner directed Matthew McConaughey in “Sahara” before he transformed into a “real” actor, then he did the horror film “The Crazies”. Don’t expect much from Eisner’s direction, nor from the screenplay which was written and re-written many times. Diesel is the selling point, appearing in each frame. The violence is moderate, the main character is limited to one car, Leslie (“Game of Thrones”) of course acts as the main characters love interest. Like “Underworld”, “The Last Witch Hunter” is dark, literally, and everyone wears black while the sky rarely produces sunlight. There isn’t much for non-Diesel fans to enjoy, even fans of gothic story material are likely to be disappointed.
Underworld meets Fast & Furious.