The Last Witch Hunter: Great Visuals, Predictable & Cliché-Packed Plot
Elijah WoodMichael Caine...
In 1 Cinema
Vin Diesel's latest supernaturally-inspired-fantasy-actioner about medieval witch hunting is every bit as absurd as it sounds. Directed by Breck Eisner – see Sahara, The Crazies –The Last Witch Hunter is visually impressive and its basic premise is not entirely without potential. However, beyond its flashy exterior lies several layers of blunders, plot holes and a generous smothering of clichés which prevents this fantasy bore from living up to its own hype.
The story begins in the 14th century where we first meet Kaulder (Diesel); a mighty warrior who, along with his clan of fighters, is on a mission to fight, and ultimately destroy, the evil Witch Queen (Engelbrecht) who was responsible for the spreading of the black plague which took the lives of his wife and daughter. Claiming the life of a witch – let alone a Queen – doesn't come without consequences, however, and Kaulder soon finds himself bestowed with the torturous curse of immortality.
Fast-forward eight-hundred years later, Kaulder can be found working for a secret society called The Ax and Cross; a modern day witch-hunting operation situated in the heart of New York City. When there is word of the Witch Queen coming back to life and planning to destroy mankind, Kaulder, with the much-needed assistance from a witch-gone-rogue, Chloe (Leslie), begins to prepare for the one last fight against his archenemy, hoping that, this time, he will put her away for good.
The Last Witch Hunter is an ambitious movie, yes, but in getting caught up in its own mythology, it fails to engage the audience in the story itself and ends up being a rather dull and predictable mess that goes through the motions.
Visually, Eisner gets it right and this is the only real aspect of the film that can be considered an achievement; the witches are conceived effectively and their magical powers and unique spells are given the special CGI treatment and it’s all executed pretty well. However, it's everything else – story, pace, dialogue – that fails to build on the elaborative setup and Eisner struggles to keep the clichés and the painfully predictable traits at bay.
Despite his obvious eagerness and commitment to the role, Diesel – sporting a sullen stare and a Mad-Max inspired look – is unable to rise above the chaos and at times doesn’t seem like he’s equipped with the tools to lead the what is already a stale formula successfully. Not even appearances from Elijah Wood and the great Michael Caine make an ounce of difference.