In what has got to be one of the most ambitious (and frankly even a little ridiculous) efforts against type-casting, Vin Diesel switches from Fast to fantasy in this decidedly mediocre attempt to create a new franchise.
He stars as Kaulder, the witch hunter of the title, who has essentially been cursed to an eternal life of breathing on windows (no joke) and yes, killing witches, while getting some support from the wise ‘Dolans’ (Michael Caine, Elijah Wood) along the way.
The main storyline centres around the discovery of a plot to resurrect the evil Witch Queen, who has a fierce desire to bring back the plague, therefore causing the world to spiral into chaos and interminable hellishness and so on and so on.
"in these familiar cliches, some enjoyment can be found, if only for the endearing realisation that Diesel is living his dream"
Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. The plot is tired, predictable and full of terrible dialogue - my favourite example being “Hey kid, did your mother never tell you to not eat sweets off trees?” - but it’s in these familiar cliches that some enjoyment can be found, if only for the quite endearing realisation that Diesel is literally living out his dream, being a self-confessed fantasy nerd.
Game of Thrones’ Rose Leslie is a breath of fresh air as Chloe, the witty ‘good witch’ sidekick character made interesting by some genuinely sparky exchanges and action scenes, even if the romance between her and Diesel ends up coming across a bit creepy. The unintentionally funny parts, and some modern/medieval cinematography mash-ups also up the enjoyment factor somewhat.
In summary, The Last Witch Hunter is nothing new or special, but will probably do for younger fans of the genre; see it just for Caine cracking jokes about iPads, laughably bad CGI threats and Diesel sporting a full head of hair with *whisper it* plaits in. Charmingly crap.
More like this: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013)