The Last Witch Hunter
Breck Eisner's The Last Witch Hunter offers up a wooden Vin Diesel performance and too many telegraphed surprises. It shows imagination, but lacks in execution.
The Last Witch Hunter is the latest uninspired Vin Diesel-starring film that’s not a Fast & Furious entry. Breck Eisner directs a sluggish script with an eye for style and imagination, while Diesel delivers one of the most wooden performances of his career. The Last Witch Hunter is bad eye candy, capitalizing on the Halloween season and current witch craze with a lacking idea of what it means to be different.
Kaulder (Vin Diesel) is a witch hunter. He has been for nearly 800 years, thanks to a witch cursing him with immortality. That hasn’t exactly stopped him or slowed him down.
His diet mostly consists of a steady helping of killing/trapping witches, while occasionally trying to make friends, while also mostly getting laid by random flight attendants.
Life is rough all over, but Kaulder presses on, in hopes of someday maybe actually dying and being reunited with his dead wife and kid that are probably all but rotted at this point.
He’s mostly just a bitter old man that looks like a young one.
Dolan 36 (Michael Caine) watches over him and keeps things holy, until his own retirement and passing of the torch is needed, which brings in the young and hip Dolan 37 (Elijah Wood).
Dolan 37 instantly tries to out-do the previous Dolan by reminding Kaulder that he’s young and hip and down with the witch-slaying lingo, but that proves to be pointless as he realizes that he has no idea what he’s up against.
To be fair, neither does Kaulder.
Apparently “THE” witch of all witches is being summoned back to life, which could end up (finally) killing Kaulder and unleashing a darkness on the world that can’t be stopped.
None of this matters much though, because Kaulder is Kaulder and he’ll find away within the next 100 years or so.
Breck Eisner‘s latest film is a disappointing one. The Last Witch Hunter promises us both a bearded Vin Diesel and a bald one, but we really only get the bald one.
On top of that Diesel seems far from interested in the material, phoning in his entire role as he moves through the film in a formulaic and beat-for-beat motion.
Diesel clearly nails the bored and hopeless Kaulder, because he just doesn’t seem to care about the film in any matter, delivering line after line in a dull and inattentive way that puts you to sleep.
The film’s approach to witch-hunting seems unique and creative at first, but quickly retreads to genre stereotypes. The action never feels heightened enough or worth a damn, which is troublesome when the film is dealing with end of the world events.
Elijah Wood and Michael Caine don’t help things either. Wood crosses some very predictable territory, while Caine is mostly a lifeless corpse (literally) during his brief moments on the screen.
Nothing registers, aside from Rose Leslie‘s out-of-place performance. I say that because she seems to be in an entirely different movie and a movie that I want to watch very much.
Leslie’s performance brings importance and signs of danger and excitement to the film, while the rest of the male-driven cast simply shrugs their shoulders like they’ve seen it all before.
But we haven’t. And that’s where The Last Witch Hunter burns itself at the cross. Nothing feels exciting. Everything feels like people going through the motions and the film’s writing and directing simply plays catch-up to those notions.
The Last Witch Hunter teases occasionally, going deep into the witch-geekdom in a way that makes you wish they would’ve stuck to those guns and kept exploring all of the dark magic and spells. But the film almost feels embarrassed of those very cool moments and instead buckles down into just another mid-budget fantasy action film that you feel like you’ve seen.
The plot draws itself out and closes on a yawning note, while you’re left praying to the almighty witch lord that Diesel doesn’t come back for a sequel if the film earns some serious cash.
I hope it doesn’t, because Diesel is far better driving cars and playing Godfather. If anything, this film should push Rose Leslie in the direction of much more capable directors, because she gives the film a strong sense of purpose.
The Last Witch Hunter is the first bad Halloween movie of the season, with Goosebumps and Crimson Peak both respectively earning their scares and spooks, while The Last Witch Hunter simply burns out like a cheaply made candle at a cult gathering in the middle of Salem.