Hunt Forever, Live Forever
Vin Diesel returns to the screen with the The Last Witch Hunter, a fantasy adventure that follows Kaulder, a man cursed with immortality after slaying the Queen Witch. During his everlasting time on Earth, the renowned Kaulder works for a secret centuries old establishment called the Axe and Cross, who maintain a truce between witches and humans. If any witches become rogue and put the life of humans in jeopardy then Kaulder hunts them down and deals with them. However now there are more than rogue witches to worry about, rumours abound that the Queen Witch is going to be resurrected by her fervent followers who yearn for the old ways, and Kaulder is the only one who can stop them.
I’ll be honest, this film had guilty pleasure written all over it for me. I’m a fan of the fantasy genre and I fully believe witches are one of the most underutilised antagonists in fantasy and horror. There are few films that do the ghastly spell conjurers justice, unfortunately The Last Witch Hunter is not one of them.
The film is about as disposable as they come, you’ll watch it once and never think about it again. The film has an ugly grim look to it when we delve into the underworld of the witches, with muddy textures and colours that have little detail, presumably to cover up the CGI which will be outdated by the end of this year. The daytime scenery utilises a bit more colour, but there isn’t enough of it to keep it lively, and the same can be said about the characters.
Film is constantly evolving, and if the same tropes & roles are going to be walked then you need to do a damn fine job of disguising them. The Last Witch Hunter does not do that. Since 2008 Vin Diesel has only played three different characters, Dominic Toretto, Riddick & Groot. So you can be forgiven if you feel the character of Kaulder is very much just a mutated offspring of the former two roles and nowhere near as good. We know Diesel is a good actor, films like Boiler Room and A Man Apart showcase this, but unfortunately he has taken on a role that mirrors so many others he has tackled. As a result your left wanting more from a shell of a character that has nothing else to give.
It doesn’t help that the story is so mundane that it could bore you to death before the Queen Witch dispatches her wrath of plague flies on the world. The story just needed to be straightforward and kick ass spectacularly when the action demanded it, after all it’s a film about hunting witches. Instead we get a story trying so poorly to twist and turn to fill in the time between action sequences, with horrible thinly veiled characters that act as arbitrary plot devices. After you’ve taken this in the cringe worthy dialogue that follows is just a kick in the teeth. I was shaking my head when Kaulder tells his sidekick Chloe that he cares about her, despite knowing her for less than a few days, he just didn’t need to say it, at all.
Come the end, as you can probably tell, I was disappointed. I’m sure it’s a film that the teen audience will enjoy with its fancy spell casting and stock baddies but it’s an uninspiring film that is visually dull with action that is even duller. Any potential the story offers it quickly squanders. Do yourself a favour, a film came out 17 years ago called Blade, watch that instead as it’s pretty similar but so much better.