What it's about:
The last witch hunter is all that stands between humanity and the combined forces of the most horrifying witches in history.
What we thought:It’s no surprise that Vin Diesel, the man who is both an action star and a well-known geek, would go on to make a film based on his Dungeons and Dragons character. Although lacking in franchise strength and a marketable appeal to bring in the crowds, The Last Witch Hunter was an enjoyable piece of action-fantasy that kept the plot together by an actor whose passion for his roles shines through all his movies, despite how bad they might be.
In this take on the witch genre, Kaulder (Vin Diesel) is a witch hunter cursed with immortality, keeping witches in line as part of a shaky truce. While he finds a way to release his friend (Michael Caine) from a spell he unearths a plot that will be the end of humans, and Kaulder and his new assistant (Elijah Wood) reluctantly team up with a witch (Rose Leslie) to stop the oncoming apocalypse.
It’s always sad to watch a movie trying to secure a franchise and know that it won’t make it past it’s first instalment, even if you liked it. Sometimes you want to watch a movie for it’s own sake and not because it’s going to be the next Hunger Games. Although the plot has some predictability, it had enough surprises to keep me engaged in the story, and the magical world of The Last Witch Hunter was a beautiful mix of Harry Potter and Day Watch. Some B-grade magic movies sometimes has this fake aura around its CGI effects, making it hard for the audience to suspend their disbelief, but Witch Hunter has some of the most beautiful and realistic manifestations of magic I’ve seen on-screen, from subtle sparks to twisting murderous trees.
Vin Diesel and Michael Caine were the best, a surprising combo that was a little weird whenever Vin Diesel referred to Caine’s character as ‘kid’ to cement the authority of the immortal one. The rest of the characters were more fillers for the plot and didn’t exactly denote that much importance beyond their specific use in the plot machinations, although the one character does have an interesting twist.
Although I enjoyed it, The Last Witch Hunter felt like it would have suited a role-playing video game more than a film, similar to that of the Witcher franchise but a modern version. Interestingly enough, Vin Diesel did have his own video game company that produced the Riddick games, and it’s likely that a game idea morphed into a script, but not necessarily for the better.
The Last Witch Hunter is not serious action-fantasy and will be seen as bland by the more nuanced geeks, but if you want something fun and entertaining (and you are not into the Star Wars fever that will be dominating the cinemas) this film is not as terrible as you might have thought. Also, Vin Diesel wielding a flaming sword is worth everything.