There will be spoilers in this. Many of them. But if you can’t figure out that in a film called The Last Witch Hunter starring Vin Diesel of all people, that he will probably win, then you need to go have a word with yourself.
I liked this film and you might not do. To counteract this, it is imperative that you view it in the correct context. In any many ways, this film is the spiritual brethren to Dune or Highlander – it is, objectively speaking, total bollocks. And yet…
Were you to sit down on a Saturday evening entirely straight headed you probably won’t like it. You certainly shouldn’t make it your whole night. However, if you were to get back from the pub, probably at about half eleven and find it on channel four or five (its spiritual home) then please watch it. It’s the type of film where you find yourself crawling to bed at half one knowing that you have to get up early in the morning and yet not being too angry with yourself as you have completely had a delightful time.
The other reason you should not watch this early doors is that I imagine the temptation to turn it into a drinking game would be enormous. Do not do this. I hypothesize that if you were to take a drink whenever you hear the word “witch” then you would die. That is the type of film we are tackling here. Not a film that spent precious witch money (eye make-up, long coats etc.) on a thesaurus.
It is quite breathtakingly silly. Virtually every note I made during the watching of this film featured an exclamation mark and I think that the scriptwriters did the same thing when they were delicately shaping the dialogue. Sample lines:
“But why doesn’t he want me to remember my death?!”
“Then maybe you shouldn’t have made me immortal!”
Or my personal favourite
“We don’t destroy witches anymore”
“…” (No line here, just Elijah Wood doing some of his acting)
“We took all the most powerful witches and we incarcerated them”
“The Witch Prison!”
“Yes. We built the ultimate coven”
Fantastic stuff there from the mind of Burk Sharpless. There are two other writers as well but they don’t have funny names.
Basically, our man Vin, stars as Kaulder the eponymous hero. As you may have gathered, he hunts witches and takes care of business. Then a series of events occur including: Betrayal! Explosions! Witches! And it all rattles along rather nicely.
Watch it by all means and take it as what it is, a hugely daft but enjoyable romp. It can’t get more than three stars without totally destroying the fabric of the five star system but it is in no way awful, just really, really silly. Apparently it was based on an idea that Diesel (a big fan of Dungeons and Dragons) had for a character that was “half magic user and half ranger” – lovely. That’s our source material folks and it shows but, to reiterate, this is no bad thing. It was a pleasure to watch a film that didn’t take itself too seriously but was still relatively straight faced. “The best thing about being immortal? I get to kill you twice!” – be still my beating heart, Vin. You had me at the 43rd “witch”.
A delightful 3 out of 5 (witches).
Dir: Breck Eisner
Scr: Cory Goodman, Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
Cast: Vin Diesel, Michael Caine, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood
Prd: Mark Canton, Vin Diesel, Bernie Goldmann
DOP: Dean Semler
Music: Steve Jablonsky
Run time: 106 mins
The Last Witch Hunter is available on digital download from15th February 2016 and on Blu-ray and DVD from 7th March 2016