By Mark Saldana
Rating: 2 (Out of 4 Stars)
Despite its interesting premise and the badassery of Vin Diesel, this action/horror movie has so very little to offer. With dull, uninspired writing, The Last Witch Hunter may not be the worst film I have seen this year so far, but it might just be the most boring one. The film gets so bogged down in action /horror cliches and tiresome tropes that it comes across like writers Cory Goodman, Matt Sazama, Buck Sharpless and director Breck Eisner cobbled together story elements and cinematic style from other better movies. Because the film has so little to offer, there really isn’t a whole lot I can say about it.
Diesel stars as Kaulder, the titular witch hunter cursed with immortality who has defended humanity from supernatural evil for centuries. In modern times, witches and humans share a fragile peace, respectfully allowing one another to co-exist. Kaulder has evolved from witch-killing and now serves as an enforcer whenever a witch breaks the treaty. The peaceful co-existence is threatened when a rogue witch named Belial (Olafur Dalli Olafson) attempts to unleash the Black Death upon the world and revive a powerful enemy from Kaulder’s ancient past.
As I previously stated, the film does have an interesting premise in that witches and humanity co-exist, working together to maintain order. The writers of the film have refused to label all witches in their world as evil, and actually go for a slightly realistic approach to their characters. The trouble, though, is that most of the characters are poorly developed and not very dimensional. In all of the filmmakers attempts to create a more dimensional movie world, the villains and allies are either caricaturesque or flat.
Vin Diesel may shine as the baddest cat around in the Fast and Furious series, but it offers so little for his character in this movie. In spite of the baggage and pathos that should come with his history and the burdens of his calling, Kaulder remains mostly unfazed. I found that utterly ridiculous. The film also stars Michael Caine and Elijah Wood as two priests tasked with offering guidance and assistance to Kaulder, as well as documenting his continuing story. As likable as these actors are, their characters just don’t offer anything really exciting to the film. Probably the only interesting character and actor in the film is Rose Leslie who portrays Kaulder’s ally Chloe, a witch with a special supernatural gift. Chloe’s cool powers and Leslie’s endearing portrayal of Chloe actually kept me somewhat invested in her fate in the film.
Unfortunately, not much else kept me invested in the film overall. More or less, the plot plays out as expected with little or no surprises. One attempt at a plot twist is pretty transparent from the beginning. When it does get revealed, all I could do was shrug my shoulders in a total lack of surprise. I cannot honestly recommend that people spend top dollar to see this film theatrically. If this movie manages to turn a profit that warrants a sequel, that would the only surprise it could manage to offer.