The Last Witch Hunter (2015)

Vin Diesel in The Last Witch Hunter (2015)

Dave author picWhat even are you, Last Witch Hunter? The ominous title and gothic poster suggest a grim action-fantasy flick – think Vin Diesel’s antihero Riddick shtick, but with witches – but we’re actually granted a slipshod, poorly-paced disappointment. Vin Diesel – sorry, “Kaulder” – was cursed with immortality some eight centuries ago, but where ‘curse’ would imply deep moral guilt from killing all those dang witches, instead we get a dude who drives a sweet car, bangs stewardesses and warns girls about magic rocks.

Director Breck Eisler – or maybe his DOP, Dean Semler – has a good eye, conjuring some memorable visuals amongst all the shiny (cheap-looking) special effects. But the storyline is so clumsily cobbled together that it can’t establish a clear emotional throughline or narrative objective until well into the back half. We’re not even sure who the sidekick is supposed to be – Michael Caine (cashing cheques, playing Alfred Pennyworth)? Elijah Wood (accepting his rightful place in the B-movie)? Maybe Rose Leslie (unable to finesse her way into ‘convincing romantic interest’)? Not only is there no actual witch hunting – false advertising! – there’s barely any action at all. Despite feints at a sequel, let’s hope this is, in fact, the last Witch Hunter movie.

1.5 stars

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