PG-13 | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Review - Matt Mungle
**In theaters October 23, 2015**
Synopsis: The last witch hunter is all that stands between humanity and the combined forces of the most horrifying witches in history.
Review: 'Tis the season for a good witch story and a battle of good and evil. Films like THE LAST WITCH HUNTER are embraced in October far better than they ever would be in June or July. Does that mean we should forgive all of its sins or burn it at the stake? You decide.
Kaulder (Vin Diesel) has been battling witches his entire life; all 800+ years of it. Our society and the world as a whole has him to thank for the fact that they have not been running rampant, causing all sorts of dark mayhem. His first battle was against the formidable Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht) who has returned in modern day to seek vengeance. Kaulder works for a secret society and over the centuries has been accompanied by a priest - here referred to as Dolans - to help aid him in his journeys. The current appointee #36 (Michael Caine) is set to retire and has brought in a younger Dolan #37 (Elijah Wood) to train up under him. Throw in a good Witch (not sure if she is from the east or west) named Chloe (Rose Leslie) and you have quite the motley crew. It will take all their efforts of course to keep the Witch Queen at bay.
This film starts off with lots of promise. The characters are strong and look fantastic. Much attention to detail is given to the surroundings, wardrobe, and special effects. You immediately are drawn in to the action and supernatural story line. The Witch Queen is menacing while at the same time sort of alluring and oddly sexy. If the entire film had been set during a pre-modern time it might have fared better. It is when we get to the current period that things immediately fall apart.
Kaulder has evolved with time and even though haunted by his long ago lost loved ones seems to heartily embrace the new world. He is sort of a playboy but takes his job seriously. He is able to spot even the most rouge Witch; and it seems they are everywhere. They all know of his reputation and fear and admire him at the same time. This only adds to his swagger.
Dolan #37 is especially keen to come along side of Kaulder. Sadly his character is poorly written and sprinkled with dialogue that is witless and uninteresting. Even the endearing Wood is unable to breathe any sort of life or interest into him. All attempts at humor, drama, or anything in between fall flat. The story line is decent enough and you find yourself longing for a battle so that everyone on screen will stop talking and revive us with action. The effects and fighting truly are the only saving grace. And it just barely.
Bottom line, this film would be fine for a small On-demand fee or Red Box rental price, especial during the Halloween season. But it is hard to justify laying down box office money to see it. Vin Diesel carries himself fine but his delivery of the spoken word, which is primarily in low grumbles and unenthusiastic mono tone, is so lackluster. Sylvester Stallone sounds up beat and chipper in comparison. Add that to the shallow script and much of this movie is just horrible.
THE LAST WITCH HUNTER is rated PG-13 for sequences of fantasy violence and frightening images. It is actually not too inappropriate for any of your teens out there. In fact the high school aged fans might like it more. They seem to be much more forgiving. There is nothing that older adults, even those fans of the supernatural genre, can walk away with positively. Looks aren't everything but it's all you get with this one.