The Last Witch Hunter – 3 out of 5
Magic is a hard fantasy for me to take seriously and enjoy. I know that sounds strange considering how much I love films about dudes who turn big and green when angry or movies about invaders from space and the dead reanimating and trying to eat the living but there’s something about magic that doesn’t speak to me. There are very few instances where I find properties that center on magic-wielding individuals to be interesting—sorry Potter Heads (or is it Potheads?), I’m not a fan of Harry and his wizard friends. So, will I enjoy seeing Vin Diesel take out some magic makers in The Last Witch Hunter?
|I heard Vin showed up to set without a beard and was informed he'd need it for the |
scene and, by sheer force of will, grew it moments before the director yelled "Action."
Kaulder (Diesel) is a simple man who was curse with immortality after destroying the Witch Queen many, many moons ago. Now he spends his time keeping the peace and protecting the world from the dark arts users. On the day that his liaison to the peace between the church and the covenant of witches (played by Michael Caine) is seemingly murdered by some witch zealots who are out to see the Witch Queen resurrected, Kaulder must team with a witch who specializes in the art of “dream walking” and stop the potential Armageddon that is coming to all of mankind.
|Which Queen? Oh, Witch Queen. Sorry.|
|If I hear Michael Caine is in a film, it's guaranteed that|
I'll watch it.
I’m not going to say that I had big expectations for this film (again, I’m not a fan of magic—I don’t even care for the popular card game of that name) but, overall, I found the film to be an alright piece of entertainment. The story is decent and complete with a mythology that feels rich, deep and established, the special effects were very, very good and the visuals the film offers up are excellent. I was particularly impressed with the way the film presented color. Due to the majority of the witches using elemental magic, there was an emphasis on nature and the power it has in the world of magic so the film contained a lot of plant life in many settings and the green colors were very vibrant and rich in these sequences and it was quite beautiful.
|Also vibrant and rich, Elijah Wood's eyes. Seriously, that guy has some bright|
Some things I was less than impressed with were things like action that was a little disappointing and too sparsely spread throughout the story and a lot of the performances were very underwhelming. For example, Vin Diesel is fine as Kaulder but he is a tad all over the place as he is excellent one moment and a tad silly the next. This formula is repeated a bit in the cast as Rose Leslie (from Game of Thrones) plays the dream walking witch that Kaulder teams up with and there are times she’s very good in the role and then there are times she’s just meh. Finally, Elijah Wood plays a new liaison from the church/witch council to help Kaulder and he’s very charming and seems like he will be a fun sidekick to Diesel but he goes painfully underutilized as he’s barely in the story. And a final finally, the Witch Queen’s henchman who is out to help her with that resurrection business and acts as the main antagonist for much of the film is laughably bland as a bad guy and just doesn’t provide much intrigue to the story or much of a threat to the protagonist. If it wasn’t for his epic beard, he would have been pretty forgettable due to how undeveloped he is.
|It's not that this dude was a bad actor, it's just that he didn't really feel like he|
was much of a threat--the character, I mean. I'm 100% positive the actor
can kick my ass 100 times over.
The biggest problem I ended up having with the film had to do with the very disappointing final act of the film. I give the movie points for trying as it brings in a twist ending and tries to deliver an epic final battle but it just can’t quite get either of them right. The big battle ended up feeling too easy and like a fight that should have taken place earlier in the film as a passing action sequence in-between moments of exposition and development. As far as the “twist” is concern, it feels hollow and empty due to a lot of slip ups concerning developing the characters. It probably would have been a decent moment in the final moments of the film but, with the sloppiness of the character development, it just felt a tad pointless and did nothing to make the ending memorable.
|That's...um...quite a short sword you're sporting there, Vin.|