The Last Witch Hunter: Review

     The Last Witch Hunter is soaked in convenience and cliche, but the visuals and fun factor keep it together just enough to allow it to remain enjoyable entertainment.  Vin Diesel stars as the titular witch hunter, cursed with immortality and currently protecting the regular humans from those that might do them harm with magic.

     All the actors struggle to make the roles work, even the great Michael Caine is left in a role that was wanting.  Vin Diesel plays his usual one-dimensional self, with no emotional range- in a tonally flat performance.  Rose Leslie plays a young witch/love interest complaining of the plight of her people (despite most witches here living in much better standards than damn near any of the regular humans in the film) who just so happens to have a hidden power to help the quest along, and Elijah Wood is a priest tasked with taking over the chronicles of Diesel's character.

     What the film has going for it is the visuals.  Not the CGI exactly, because there are times when it is laughable, you'll know it when you see it.  The Sentinel is the one magical creature that looks super alien and creepy and could've used more screen time.  The magic looks very spectacular at times, in particular there's a scene with a bunch of magical butterflies that is quite neat and the flaming sword was very cool.
     The set design is also tremendous, from the swanky witch nightclubs to the plague tree, they are all interesting locations and offer an oddly large feel to this cinematic world.  Of course, the pace of the movie is so great it doesn't matter as you'll be pulled right from one place to another.  Unfortunately, the camera work at times is so shaky, combined with consistently choppy editing, that it becomes a huge annoyance to track what's happening and it ruins the magic of those scenes.

     An unoriginal, but potentially interesting idea isn't enough to save The Last Witch Hunter.  The plot and story are dismal, supported by equally appalling dialogue in an effort to merge an ancient fantasy with the modern day world in a way that just doesn't fit right here.  Everything is telegraphed so far in advance that the trailer should be enough to accurately guess the end.
     In the hands of a better team of writers and directors, this could've been a truly amazing film with some real depth.  There are genuine moments that really do work, but they are few and far between.  As it is, it's merely an amusing modern day equivalent of a B movie- it feels like a film made by children trying to mix old genres and emulate the best of the old masters of fantasy and horror to create something new and interesting, and what resulted was this jumbled mess instead.  They have all the right pieces, it's just haphazardly piled together.

*I saw and reviewed this movie with screener tickets.

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