Unfortunately with the fantasy genre, every new film is often compared to the majesty of films like The Lord of the Rings, Pan's Labyrinth, or shows like HBO's Game Of Thrones. Recently released Vin Diesel flick The Last Witch Hunter is the latest to fall victim in comparison to such culturally impactful franchises, with many reviews complaining about sub-par performances and "hokey plots". However, The Last Witch Hunter is a genuinely enjoyable movie packed with action and humor.
The Last Witch Hunter tells the story of Kaulder (played by Vin Diesel), an ancient warrior cursed with immortality by the evil Witch Queen. He lived the next several centuries enforcing laws in the witch communities, allowing them to live alongside humans as long as they kept their magic a secret. After a mysterious and powerful witch surfaces and threatens Kaulder's authority, he is forced to team up with a friendly young witch named Chloe (played by Rose Leslie) in order to save the world yet again.
The Last Witch Hunter boasts a fantasy all-star cast including Elijah Wood from Lord of the Rings, Rose Leslie from Game of Thrones, and the brilliant Michael Caine from The Dark Knight trilogy. Each of these actors, along with Vin Diesel himself, portray different personalities and life stories that merge beautifully on-screen.
Vin Diesel is as tough and brutal as Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, with the regenerative factor to boot! When he speaks, he is able to switch from charming to menacing with a moment's notice, forming the ideal charismatic badass. His action scenes are beautifully choreographed and his lines were delivered with perfection.
Rose Leslie's character Chloe was the high-point of the film for me. Her wit and charm played off of Diesel's gruff and tough exterior quite nicely, and her character's story brings more depth to the film.
Elijah Wood and Michael Caine both play fascinating characters as well, but Wood's acting came off as a bit static at times. Caine is perfect as ever, and if The Last Witch Hunter lands a sequel in the coming years, I look forward to seeing Caine back in action yet again.
The special effects in this movie are mesmerizing! From fantasy landscapes to Kaulder's flaming sword, the movie really makes you feel immersed by the magic of Kaulder's world.
I have read complaints however regarding the intensity and frequency at which CGI was used. Seeing as the film does land in the fantasy genre, a certain amount of special effects are to be expected. I wouldn't consider the effects to be overused, rather that the usage of these effects contribute to the image of the film as a whole.
There are many admirable qualities about this film, but that certainly doesn't mean that it's perfect. Although the movie presents itself as a modern-day fantasy-action flick, the action is few and far-between. There is an intense battle at the beginning of the film, but other than that the action is limited to a few three-minute skirmishes, with the rest of the time being filled with investigation and story-progression.
The story was well-executed, but I couldn't help but feel like the fantasy world could have used a little more depth. We get a good taste of Kaulder's former life, but the witches in the movie seemed to progress whenever the plot needed them too. All we are told is that they control elemental magic, but they appear to be able to stretch their magical properties to other random extremes whenever they need to.
All-in-all, the film sets itself up for a sequel that I would look forward to seeing. For someone looking for a deep, epic fantasy world like Middle-Earth or Westeros, I'm sorry to say that this movie isn't for you. On the other hand, if you want a fun popcorn movie with entertaining action and humor, I would definitely recommend The Last Witch Hunter!