What can you say about The Last Witch Hunter? It's a movie where you just feel like someone pitched, "Imagine Vin Diesel, action star extraordinaire, slaying witches - with a flaming sword!" And from there it was packed full of great talent in Michael Caine, Rose Leslie, and Elijah Wood. That's The Last Witch Hunter, and it's refreshing that it didn't hide what it is.
The movie follows Kaulder, the Witch Hunter played by Diesel, cursed with immortality and living in the present. I'm one of those people that likes to give actors a chance, and, as Vin Diesel was pretty good in The Chronicles of Riddick so why not The Last Witch Hunter? From there the question is begged -- does Vin Diesel live up to his role?
First, let me talk about the good in this movie, which, by far, were the special effects. The movie is a supernatural romp riddled with witches and magic, but also so action-packed that even Michael Bay would be proud. I really was intrigued by the set design, specifically in the beginning of the movie. The colors and textures throughout worked together to take you into a different world, but one that felt familiar, which was enjoyable. It's no surprise as the movie was directed by Breck Eisner, who was also the director of Sahara, another grand scale movie with beautiful sets, so I expected nothing less from this movie in that aspect.
The take on modern witches and how they fit into society today was new; it was refreshing to see a world where supernatural beings lived amongst humanity. I would have loved to see more of this as it does make for an interesting concept. But the movie dragged a bit until we the introduction of Chloe (Rose Leslie). Chloe was able to navigate us through this world, so similar to our world of today, but one that had many hidden layers of magic. I just wished we got a bit more of that world than we actually do. All in all, set design and the magic world of this movie were the highlights.
If there's a complaint from this one, it's a less than stellar collective effort from the cast. I know I shouldn't have expected too much by way of acting chops from Vin Diesel, who is mainly an action star, but when a supporting character like Michael Caine carries most of the scenes, you have a problem. I'm not saying that Vin Diesel is a bad actor, but perhaps he wasn't fully comfortable in the role, as some of his delivery felt awkward and forced and, at times, laughable. Elijah Wood felt really bland even during his highlight scenes. I do, however, think Rose Leslie was great.
My final gripe with the movie was the overall story, which felt too predictable. There are minimal twists and turns in this movie, but the biggest one of them all was given away far too easily. The pacing was a bit off as the ending, which was rushed, felt weak.
Overall this movie had two-dimensional characters, too much of the big twists spoiled, and a story that fell apart as time passed by. It did, however, have wonderful set design, an interesting take on modern witches, and Vin Diesel with a flaming sword slaying witches! If you're into all that I say you should definitely check it out, but if not, then I would stay clear from the path of The Last Witch Hunter.