Directed by Breck Eisner. Starring Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Michael Caine, Elijah Wood.
THE PLOT: 100 years after he killed the Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht) and was cursed with immortality, Kaulder (Vin Diesel) is the only man who stands between our world and the darkness that witches want to bring down on humanity. With the help of his loyal Dolan (Michael Caine) and a rogue witch named Chloe (Rose Leslie), who is desperate to survive Kaulder must fight to stop the Witch Queen returning, and save the human race from extinction.
THE VERDICT: Despite the fact that the synopsis for ‘The Last Witch Hunter’ seems complicated and long, the film is actually rather simple and rather familiar. That said, this doesn’t mean the film isn’t a decent amount of rather silly fun.
Vin Diesel plays the intimidating Kaulder, first as a man with a long beard and a Peaky Blinders style haircut, then as the brooding, bald Diesel we know, only with several more smiles. Rose Leslie has ditched the Yorkshire drawl she sported in ‘Game of Thrones’, and plays a kindly witch with a will to survive. You know the type; plucky and whatnot. Michael Caine turns up as a watered down version of Alfred from ‘The Dark Knight Trilogy’, and Elijah Wood plays a subservient Dolan – the 37th one, to be precise – with a dark agenda. All do fine in their roles, but there are few surprises in ‘The Last Witch Hunter’.
Screenwriters Cory Goodman, Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless may have written the screenplay some time ago – it appeared on the 2010 Blacklist of Most Liked Scripts in Hollywood – but there are definite comparisons to be made here between this and Seventh Son, which was released in Irish cinemas earlier this year. There are some fun moments in the film, but this does not mean that the screenplay feels oddly reminiscent of films we have seen before where odd couples team up to save the world.
As director, Breck Eisner has managed to make a familiar script a lot of loud, dumb fun. There is a lot of charm to The Last Witch Hunter that has a lot to do with the performances, and little to do with the script. The film is well paced and shot – for the most part – and the chemistry between the actors is strong and warm. There are times, however, when the action scenes dissolve into darkness and jumbled CGI.
In all, ‘The Last Witch Hunter’ is a surprising amount of fun, but we have seen films of this ilk before; odd couples coming together to save the world, and the world duly being saved.
Review by Brogen Hayes

The Last Witch Hunter
Review by Brogen Hayes
3.0Surprisingly Fun
  • filmbuff2011

    The Last Witch Hunter featured in the Hollywood Blacklist – an annual list of the best unproduced scripts. Writers Cory Goodman, Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless must have been on to a good thing. It owes a debt of sorts to Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but it features its own distinct world of witches and warlocks. Somewhere in the translation from script to screen, that quality was cast into the ashes. Kaulder (Vin Diesel) is a medieval witch hunter tasked by a holy sect to wipe out all threats from witches. He defeats the Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht), but not before she curses him with immortality. Cut to the present day and Kaulder’s current role involves him acting as a peacekeeper. Witches are told to keep the truce and not harm humans. In return, Kaulder won’t interfere with their activities. But there are others who want to harm humans. Belial (Olafur Darri Olafsson) seeks to bring back the Witch Queen. Kaulder joins forces with priest Dolan 37th (Elijah Wood) and good witch Chloe (Rose Leslie) to stop him before it’s too late. The fate of the human supernatural and human worlds hangs in the balance… The Last Witch Hunter is a good idea for a film and with Hallowe’en approaching, the timing of the release is ideal. There’s a good deal of imagination on display, in the design of the world that these characters inhabit. The Witch Queen may be in need of a makeover though – she looks quite horrible. Director Breck Eisner (The Crazies) eschews traditional witches with pointy hats, green skin and shrieking cackles for a more undead look that pushes the 12A rating (actually, cuts have been made to get a 12A – boo). If you can find it, there’s fun to be had here. Diesel makes Kaulder a character we can root for and Michael Caine brings some A-class respectability to a film that frankly doesn’t deserve him. Sadly, the film really struggles to set itself apart from the dubious likes of Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters. It’s all very predictable and relies heavily on CGI which is merely perfunctory rather than impressive. Eisner may have made an impression with The Crazies, but here he doesn’t seem to know how to portray this world in an adequate fashion. He merely goes through motions, moving from Scene A to Scene B to Scene C without leaving a lasting impression. The Last Witch Hunter is proof enough that you can make a bad film out of a good script. Passable nonsense. **

  • Louise Corrigan

    Loved it, it’s Vin Diesel with a flaming sword! Proper 3/5