The Last Witch Hunter is mildly amusing, mediocre, and utterly forgettable. It doesn’t make any sense nor does it try too, and the CGI is average at best. Many plot elements and magical items are introduced and not properly explained. The best parts of the movie (and that’s not saying a whole lot) are the actors, led by Vin Diesel in the title role of Witch Hunter.
The plot will give you an ice cream headache if you think about it for too long. Here’s a simplified version. 800 years ago, Kaulder (Vin Diesel) and a band of Viking-ish warriors tracked down the Witch Queen before she released a devastating plague that would have wiped out all of humanity (she also may have killed Kaulder’s wife and child or he may have outlived them the film doesn’t specify). Kaulder managed to kill the Witch Queen, but with her final breath she cursed him with immortality (not understanding how curses work I suppose). Throughout this time Kaulder has been the enforcer for a shadow organization of the Church, called The Axe and Cross. He is accompanied by a Priest, called a Dolan, who gives him instructions from the organization and records his exploits. The 36th Dolan (Michael Caine) is retiring and mysteriously drops dead. Kaulder investigates his death with his replacement the 37th Dolan (Elijah Wood) and a friendly witch, Chloe, (Rosa Leslie) uncovering a plot to resurrect the Witch Queen.
Besides the confusing muddled plot the direction is bad, the CGI is run of the mill, and some of the fight scenes were shaky cam over edited messes. This is a small quibble but Kaulder isn’t even The Last Witch Hunter, he’s the only Witch Hunter because of his immortality. In addition, many concepts like magical runes, Evil vs Dark magic, Witches and their Witch Society, and The Axe and Cross are briefly introduced and very poorly explained or completely forgotten about. The Axe and Cross, the organization for whom Kaulder has been an enforcer for the past 800 years, in particular deserves a mention. It’s run by some sort of Board who imprisons witches in a place called, “The Witch Prison” without a trial, employs monsters as security guards, and doesn’t bother to listen to or inform Kaulder of incredibly crucial information. What they do in relation to Kaulder, the witches, and their society would be extremely helpful to understand in this dark fantasy.
The only highlights are the actors, but even they sound silly saying some of this ridiculous dialogue. Michael Caine is clearly in “waiting for the check to clear mode”, which is a shame because of Caine’s immense talent. He is almost immediately killed off anyhow. Elijah Wood surprisingly brings a great deal of earnest nervous energy as the inexperienced new Dolan and is actually a great fit. Rosa Leslie (Game of Thrones) is also good as Chloe, a friendly witch who helps Kaulder track down the Witch Queen. She brings static and tension because after all, Kaulder does hunt down, imprison, or murder her kind. But all of that is quickly forgotten and is replaced by sexual tension between them.
The best part of the film is Vin Diesel’s character, which unfortunately isn’t saying much. Diesel’s Kaulder is almost every Vin Diesel character: badass with touches of humor, displaying only anger and occasionally regret. The film initially can’t seem to decide whether he’s mournful because of his dead family and wants to die, but is unable to, or whether he enjoys his immortality. It eventually settles on the latter. Vin Diesel is definitely invested in the character since he did have a large role in the script. Kaulder was, in fact, based on one of his character builds for Dungeons and Dragons. However, his performance can’t save this confusing and muddled film and by the end you’ll probably be rolling your eyes out of your skull.
The Last Witch Hunter is riddled with problems, aside from the actors who appear to be enjoying themselves the movie is not worth your time. It’s chaotic and could have been better with a little more polish and time. Unfortunately, as it stands it’s inadequately explained and poorly directed. If you like Vin Diesel's shtick or B grade fantasy then this is for you. However, with better options out there for your money this film should be saved for drunken Netflix outings at best.
TLDR: The Last Witch Hunter is a mindless action film that happens to star Vin Diesel. It’s a blend of silly dialogue, stupid plot, and forgettable CGI. Vin Diesel seems to be having fun at least. (1 Star/5)