Featuring:: Vin Diesel, Elijah Wood, Rose Leslie, Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Julie Engelbrecht, Michael Caine
Director: Breck Eisner
Writers: Cory Goodman, Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
Movie website: www.lionsgate.com/movies/thelastwitchhunter/
Australian release date: Thu 29 Oct
Verdict: Mildly enjoyable trash, providing you leave your brain at home and keep expectations low
On the face of it, this isn’t a bad storyline. Kaulder (Vin Diesel) is the last remaining witch hunter. Cursed in medieval times to immortality and eternal separation from his beloved wife and children by the Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht) responsible for the Black Plague, he spends his limitless time ridding the world of witches and the evil threat they pose to mortals. Tackling an uprising of witches in contemporary New York, he discovers that the Witch Queen has been resurrected. A final showdown looms, with the future of the human race at stake.
Except the big rematch doesn’t eventuate (saved for the sequel). Fear not, though. Kaulder has his hands full fighting off witchy heavyweights – this is one action-packed CGI fest. Re-born Witch Queen not required. Problem is, the fight scenes are all very samey and become tedious. The creative thinking, such as there is of it, has gone into on a proliferation of ludicrously over-the-top CGI graphics that might have worked a treat in a computer game. Here, without possibility of audience interactivity, it’s all a bit of a yawn.
In between the fight scenes, things are pretty drab and passé. You don’t expect great writing in a piece like this – and you sure don’t get it! Some of the exposition at the beginning is laughably ham-fisted and obvious. And the performances? Well, Vin Diesel is a caricature of an action hero: ridiculously deep voice that makes him sound sorta dumb, muscles a steroid junkie would kill for, good with children but merciless with bad guys from the Dark Side blah blah. He has a shot at some nudge-nudge wink-wink self-parody, and there’s an attempt from the writers to provide some humorous signifiers that the product is not to be taken seriously, but most of the comic moments fall flat so that’s not much of a saving grace.
Leave your brain at home and keep your expectations low and it is possible to eke a modicum of guilty enjoyment out of this trash, but there’s no getting away from the fact that trash it is – and not the sort likely to attract D-grade cult status in years to come.
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