The rules are simple. The good get spared. The bad get spoiled.
The Last Witch Hunter (Lionsgate)
Directed by Breck Eisner
It was obvious going into this, my two hours set aside to watch The Last Witch Hunter, that it was not going to be a movie of substance. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks watching Oscar nominated films (It’s that time of year again). So I was looking at it as a sort of palette cleanser, you know. But as it turns out The Last Witch Hunter is a pretty decent story. The movie has a nice cast with Michael Caine and Rose Leslie (Ygritte from Game of Thrones) and Elijah Wood. I mean it’s unbelievably lacking in substance to the point where it’s a rather shallow film… like a puddle after a light rain. And it’s like the film-makers were more concerned with having Vin Diesel say something cool to end a scene or have him pose or look good with a sword than with telling a good story that the movie has extraordinarily little depth. But sometimes after so much Oscar nominated heaviness, you can use a little shallow. Something light. And honestly the film had its moments.
The Last Witch Hunter tells the story of an ancient hunter of witches (hence the name) who is condemned to live forever by the witch queen. Vin Diesel is that Hunter. So the movie starts off with this cool ancient battle between him & his boys and the witch queen & her brood. And then continues into the present. There are lots of cool visuals. And by that I mean things and situations that are set up to look cool. Or to make Vin Diesel feel cool. Here he is with a flaming sword. Here he is as an ancient warrior. This is Vin’s fantasy (he’s a big fantasy gamer) and we’re just lucky that he’s let us watch.
But then Ygritte from Game of Thrones comes into the picture and I don’t have to tell you that I have a huge crush on this girl. “You know nothing, Jon Snow” She’s so fucking awesome (she shows up in the last season of Luther [far too short a season if you ask me] and kills it). And you know she’s cool in this as well. I definitely want to see more of her. In The Last Witch Hunter she plays a young witch (a good witch?) who grew up hearing scary stories about Vin’s immortal witch hunter. Bedtime stories designed to make a young witch follow the rules.
You see there’s this uneasy truce between the hunter and the witches. They don’t involve humans in any of their shenanigans and he doesn’t kill them all with a sword. Because not only is he The Last Witch Hunter but now that he’s immortal they have no chance. It’s a great back story to a movie that totally lacked any substance whatsoever. But was still a pretty decent movie… considering.
There are many things in The Last Witch Hunter that are borrowed from other series and other movies. Or maybe we’ve reached a saturation point with fantasy ideas. And everything new is a little derivative of everything else. I don’t know. There’s an order of priests who pass down their knowledge from generation to generation like Fifth Element. And there are other things that leap out that remind me of Harry Potter or The Mortal Instruments. But I think maybe I’m expecting originality where there’s little room for it.
In the end, the movie was not that bad. It held my attention and Ygritte was hot (and you know how I like redheads) and Vin Diesel does his best Sly Stallone impression and Michael Caine played Alfred from Batman Begins and Elijah Wood was Frodo (I almost called him Elijah Frodo) and the movie was alright. Not that bad. The Last Witch Hunter is not Citizen Kane or even Citizen Kane goes to Hogwarts but it was also not a complete waste of two hours and I could even stand a sequel.
The Last Witch Hunter is a movie without substance but some pretty cool style and some interesting bits stolen from other things but it wasn’t half bad. Not that bad.
And yes Vin Diesel looks cool with a flaming sword. So what else do you need?