Friday, 23 October 2015 00:00

The Last Witch Hunter Featured

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Movie Review by Vincent Centonze

If you're a Fast and Furious Vin Diesel action movie groupie, then his new film, The Last Witch Hunter is for you.

For the rest of us, this CGI laden occult action fantasy directed by Breck Eisner (The Crazies, Sahara), casts a sleepy spell. Diesel plays Kaulder, a scruffy looking Norseman-type guy cursed to live forever by a wicked witch queen as he runs her through during a pitched battle 800 years ago. Cut to the present, where Kaulder, now shorn of the Ragnar Lothbrok mohawk and beard, drives an expensive sports car and lives in a marble trimmed New York penthouse apartment, seducing flight attendants and tinkering with old watches. He also works with a secret order of priests called Dolans, and a coven of good witches, to keep humanity safe from bad witches. Because he's immortal, Kaulder can hunt witches with impunity. That's why he's the Last Witch Hunter. (Actually he's the only witch hunter, because the story gives no indication that there have ever been any others... that's just one of the plot elements that doesn't make sense, but more on that later.) It seems the world is filled with good witches living and working side-by-side with unknowing humans, and they don't want their reputations tarnished by the bad witches who want to take over the world, cause plagues, and do the things that bad witches do.   As sort of a cross between Highlander and the Men In Black, Kaulder keeps good witches in line, and brings bad witches to justice meted out by the witches' court. A far cry from Vincent Price's witch hunter, Kaulder does his work with all sorts of flaming swords and nouveau firearms. When Kaulder's sidekick, the 36th Dolan, played by Michael Caine, is attacked by bad witches on the eve of his retirement from Dolanhood, he leaves Kaulder a cryptic message, which is a key to saving the world, though I'm not sure from what. I don't want to say too much because I don't want to give it away, although the story is confusing enough that I don't think I'd be able to spoil it anyway. The film is replete with outstanding CGI; however, as with so many films, it seems like a vehicle to showcase the special effects, with plot and actors thrown into the witches brew for good measure. There are plenty of predictable gimmicks and situations, whose outcomes are even more predictable, though there are one or two moderately interesting twists. The dialogue is thin, and leaves something to be desired. There are lines like, "this place reeks of death" as they walk through a room filled with decaying skeletons. Yeah, we figured that. Most of the performances are also unremarkable and Diesel acts pretty much like he does in all his other films. Elijah Wood plays the 37th Dolan – I still have a hard time picturing him without Frodo ears. Rose Leslie, who plays Chloe, a good witch who assists Kaulder with the occasional magic potion, puts the most heart and energy into her performance. You may remember her as Gwen Dawson from Downton Abbey and Ygritte from Game of Thrones. The Last Witch Hunter will no doubt find a niche market; it's rumored that a sequel is already in the works, and it will likely spawn a profitable minor franchise. But most moviegoers will likely ride their brooms in a different direction. I give this film 1 paw out of 4.

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