The Last Witch Hunter: Review

Written by: Jon Castillo

Film | Oct 26, 2015

Breck Eisner Rose Leslie The Last Witch Hunter Vin Diesel

Okay. There is no other way to say it; I enjoyed "The Last Witch Hunter."

Parts of the latter half of the script is ridiculous, the characters thin as air, and that last bit of the film was without doubt, rushed. This would do better as a 6 episode event series, instead of a feature-length film. And yet, as a whole, the film manages to actually be fun.

This is all about Vin Diesel being Vin Diesel doing what he does best: Kicking ass. And let's be honest, besides driving fast cars in style, Vin Diesel's home is in science-fiction and fantasy. "Pitch Black," "Chronicles of Riddick," "Riddick," "Guardians of the Galaxy," are some of those highlights of his career, and we can add "The Last Witch Hunter" on that list.

On the surface, this is a straight B-grade film with budget high enough to hitch well-known actors onboard.

It starts out with Vikings, venturing into a massive, sorcerous structure resembling a giant, maniacal tree. Not only is it a magnificent sight to gaze upon, but it is also nostalgic in early epic-fantasy films, where the heroes reach the evil master's castle, to settle the fate of humanity once and for all. Here, the Vikings confront the Witch Queen, to end the plague that is destroying humanity. See? It's a ridiculously clichéd plot since the '80s. And to see something like this done in 2015 is suicide. Yet, it manages to charm with its action scenes, rich lore, and Rose Leslie.

After the epic confrontation in the beginning, the film now sizzles down into the present, where it becomes a buddy cop thriller-ish. Vin Diesel, plays as the immortal Kaulder, teaming up with his new partner, to investigate a murder.

Along the way, we learn that Kaulder has forged an alliance with the Axe & Cross, the secret police that keeps an eye on the witches. No one slays witches in the modern world, it seems, and instead, are incarcerated in a nightmare realm that strangely reminds me of the "Phantom Zone" in DC Comics.

The lore keeps on building up as Kaulder continues to explain new things to each new character that tags along with him. Later on, the film drops the buddy cop act, and goes back into an urban action-fantasy where we get to see the glitters of magic and a sword swooshing here and there.

I wish I could talk something about character development. But, here, there is almost none with Kaulder taking the spotlight on every scene. The side characters, both heroes and villains, are brushed aside and put in a puddle, only to make an entrance when it's most convenient. This film is all about Kaulder, relighting purpose in his life to carry out all burden on his shoulders alone. Again, with that absurdly cliché plot that is just so fun.

Looking at this on a much grander scale, I'd say this film deserves a modest recognition. Few films managed to encapsulate something so absurd and turn it into something fun. Last I heard, a sequel is well on its way. Here's to hoping they give it further development. 

About the author: Jon Castillo

Jonathan is hiding from a lynch mob after messing with the wrong basketball team. His favorite song is "Boys do Fall in Love" by Robin Gibb.

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