Review: ‘The Last Witch Hunter’ is Fun But Not Fantastic
When a scene opens on a band of medieval black-cloaked warriors travelling through a vast snow covered land heading to a giant tree one would excitedly expect Jon Snow and the Night’s Watch to be our protagonists, but once the disappointment of their absence sets in we can continue with the disappointment of the Last Witch Hunter. Enjoyment of the latest Vin Diesel supernatural action flick, directed by Breck Eisner, is all based on management of expectations. If the viewer is expecting a Game of Thrones caliber fantasy epic then they are certain to leave with Diesel-defeat. But if on the other hand the viewer expects a little bit of fun with a semi-unique plot then they may find Vin-dication.
Cinematics (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.) – 2
Director Breck Eisner does not have a very big resume with “Sahara” and “The Crazies” and he has not added much to it with “The Last Witch Hunter.” Not much stands out in terms of camera use. There are plenty of scenes that are overwhelmed and dependent on CGI and makeup, and there are few good scenes that focus on development of the main character, Kaulder. Overall the plot is unique, but one cannot help but feel that many aspects of the story are reminiscent of other more familiar and more popular films. For example, when Vin Diesel is shown with his shiny new black Aston Martin it is impossible not to see a “Fast and the Furious” reference coupled with a James Bond hero homage. Such things detract from the film, but somehow it finds a way to entertain nonetheless.
Entertainment Value – 3
“The Last Witch Hunter” shines in this department. After the confusing opening scene of 8th century Diesel in a great beard with his even greater baritone voice, we are transported to modern New York, and with the voice of Michael Caine, we now have to take the film a bit more seriously. These two are supported by Elijah Wood and Rose Leslie who all hold their own as quality actors. All three supporting stars are what hold together what could otherwise have been an utterly terrible film. The supernatural horror feel gives way to a campy and fun feel that we come to enjoy by the end. Diesel has done a good job playing the antihero of the “Fast and Furious” and “Riddick” franchises and he plays an even better hero here despite the poor writing and directing. It is just simply fun to watch him crack jokes in a deep voice, drive fast, and kill things. The film gives a feel that Diesel is not taking himself too seriously and that helps the viewer not take him too seriously either, allowing both to have fun.
Rewatchability – 2
This is not a film many would care to rewatch, but not one many would run from either. It is a good Netflix catcher and maybe even one mediocre enough to play in the background of a Halloween party.
Vin Diesel and his well respected costars hold together an otherwise poorly written and directed movie to leave us with film that is fun but not fantastic. Despite what critics may think of "The Last Witch Hunter," the demand of fans who favor this genre will make certain this is not the last we see of the Last Witch Hunter. With a sequel already in the works, even if this film flops there is likely a fad for it in our future.