Movie Review: The Last Witch Hunter

Jean-Paul’s Rating: 3/5 stars

Bottom Line: Starts strong. Finishes with Vin Diesel “acting”.  Should be called “The Last Witch Follower”.

Yet another great premise ruined by bad writing.  And bad acting.  And little action.  And Vin Diesel.  I mean, wow, is Vin Diesel a bad actor.  Yes, this isn’t much of a surprise, but they made the mistake in this movie of putting him in the same scenes as people that can act.  I was surprised to see both Michael Caine and Elijah Wood in the movie and thought that boded well for the quality.  I was wrong. They just made Vin Diesel look all the worse.

The premise is pretty cool.  It is a world of humans and witches.  In the distant past, witches don’t much like the humans and attempt to unleash the Black Plague on the world thus killing off the humans.  A band of Witch Hunters travel to the heart of the Witch Queen’s lair to do battle with her and bring her evil schemes to an end.  The sole survivor of the battle, Kaulder (Vin Diesel), successfully kills the Witch Queen only to have her curse him with immortality as she dies.  Fast forward to present day and the still immortal Kaulder now occupies a world where the humans and witches have struck a pact to live peacefully together and Kaulder now plays the role of detective, hunting down witches who break the pact and bringing them before a Witch’s Council that pass judgement.

It’s a great setup.  the problem is there’s no follow through.  Very little actual hunting occurs.  The action follows this sort of setup:

Vin Diesel: Hi there, I can’t act.

Witch: Oh, you’re the scary Witch Hunter.

Vin Diesel: Damn skippy. You have no idea what powers you hold please be careful.

Witch: I see the errors of my ways.  Thank you.

Vin Diesel: Now I must be off for I have other witches to talk to and scare with my mere presence.

I am being slightly unfair.  There is also this setup:

Vin Diesel: Yep, still can’t act. Also, I am surprisingly trusting of witches and their magic and thus must fall asleep from the spell the witch puts on me thus putting me in great peril.  I sure hope Ygritte from “Game of Thrones” (Rose Leslie) can save my ass from this evil witch.

Ygritte: You know nothing Vin Diesel.  And boy, you really cannot act. You make me look like Michael Caine in comparison.

Michael Caine: Well, he does only because the geniuses who wrote this script decided to make me die almost immediately upon being introduced.

Elijah Wood: But then I take your place and the script writers also decide to criminally underutilize me as well and then when they do use me they give me this completely out of left field plot twist that makes no sense.

Ygritte: Guys?  This is a movie, can we please get on with it, I’m about to save Vin Diesel’s ass.  Again.

Michael Caine: Isn’t it really better this way?  You know, him asleep and all?

Ygritte: Point taken, but unlike you and Elijah, I still need to make a career for myself and this could be my big break.

Elijah Wood: Let her be, Michael.  We were both here once too.

Michael Caine: *sighs* Fine, hobbit, have it your way, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Ygritte: Thanks.  Ok, get up you sorry excuse for an action star.

Vin Diesel: Here I am, what did I miss?

The biggest problem is this is a movie that seems to want to look pretty more than it wants to express any coherent plot.  This would be all fine and good if half the looking pretty involved some ass-kicking of witches.  That key ingredient is, alas, lacking.  Sad to see another good premise go to waste, but at least I’ve now seen this movie so you don’t have to.