I struggle with where to begin with my thoughts on The Last Witch Hunter. There's so much going on in this movie without anything really happening, that attempting to summarize a plot almost feels like more effort than the filmmakers put into it. Just remember, the answer to every question or plot hole is, "Because, magic".
We are thrown in with a group of crusaders, possibly in medieval times, who are chasing through an underground lair after a witch queen. Through some pretty horrendous CGI, we see that these are not the first men to venture down here in pursuit of vengeance. But those previous groups apparently didn't have Vin Diesel with them. A battle erupts, witches are fought, Vin Diesel pulls out a magical flaming sword and quickly dispatches most of them. Once finally confronted with the big bad queen herself, he plunges said sword into her, but not before she places a curse on him, because that's what witches do. She curses him with immortality so that he can live forever in mourning over his family that she took from him.
Cut to modern day, and we find out that Vin's named Kaulder, and he has spent eons roaming the earth, fighting witches, all with the help of a series of priests known as Dolans. Currently he is being assisted by the 36th Dolan in the line, played by none other than Michael Caine. At this point, Caine feels like he's simply rehashing a vanilla version of his Alfred from the Dark Knight franchise. Director Breck Eisner has these men continually referencing the good ol days and those many battles we should have been there for. All of this is a bland attempt to give them a familial feel, but it just comes off as lazy exposition that goes nowhere. Caine's Dolan 36 also spends a bit of time trying to play matchmaker for his bff, but Kaulder doesn't have time for love at the moment. The entire time, I thought to myself "What are you doing here, Michael Caine? Aren't you better than this?" And apparently he agreed, because he then slept through most of the rest of the movie, but not before introducing his successor as Dolan, Elijah Wood.
With the help of his new priest friend, Kaulder goes out in search of who put the extra dose of Ambien into Caine's sleepytime tea. The film suddenly takes on the feel of an episode of Law & Order: Supernatural Division, as these two new partners take to the streets to interview witnesses and process the crime scene. All the while, Vin Diesel is providing his best monosyllabic impression of Stallone in The Specialist. He's got an answer for everything, and it's usually, you guessed it, "Because magic".
Kaulder meets up with a dream walker witch named Chloe (Rose Leslie) who decides to tag along once her magic speakeasy is destroyed by, well, magic. The gang meets terrible CGI creatures and battle a warlock of sorts who keeps coming after them. And the rest plot will only serve to put you to sleep.
The draw to The Last Witch Hunter is what at first glance looks like an ethereal back and forth between the modern day and the far off past, watching Vin Diesel fighting witches with his fire sword. Unfortunately, Eisner relied too heavily on subpar effects that at times were laughable, and a cast who felt like they were barely there. Diesel has made several forays trying to start up a new franchise outside of the lucrative "Fast" series, and this felt like he & Eisner envisioned this being more than a single film, but I doubt that will come to fruition. Even in the "Fast" movies, there's a token effort at a plot even when there's holes you could drive a Mustang through. At the very least you can tell the cast is having fun and it's contagious. This felt like a cast full of people dream walking their way to a paycheck.
Jamison Rabbitt once competed in a magic show in sixth grade, but forgot which cup the ball was under, and quickly abandoned that dream. You can find more reviews and embarrassment from Jamison on his podcasts Real Films Podcast and Movie Mojo Monthly as well as his film review show HERE.