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The Last Witch Hunter (2015) Theatrical Review

By Oct 22, 2015 08:37 PM EST

While The Last Witch Hunter started off intriguing, it ended on a whimper that left me feeling unsatisfied and disappointed. Not the worst film ever, but certainly not even close to the best.

The Last Witch Hunter had so much potential; unfortunately it just didn't live up to it.  It is predictable, anticlimactic and overdone at points. Even some good casting choices can't help salvage the tangled mess the plot weaves.  Dark, demonic and ordinary, I spent an hour and 45 minutes waiting for the big payoff that never quite delivered.

Kaulder (Vin Diesel; Fast and Furious Seven) is the last of a chosen group who generally hunts and kills witches (hence the title).  However, thanks to a century's old peace treaty, he is charged with keeping order between the witches and humanity, aided by a series of Dolans –a group of priests who swear an oath to serve Kaulder.    When his latest Dolan turns up dead/cursed, Kaulder must travel back to his own death in order to unravel the mystery of what is really going on.

Diesel is good enough in this film where he plays the tough guy shielding a seriously physically and emotionally wounded heart.  Unfortunately, he plays it too well and we never really get to see much emotional depth from the character, which could have enriched him even more. 

Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) plays Chloe, a witch, and dream walker, who aids Kaulder in his quest to remember what happened when he killed the witch queen (Julie Englebrecht; The Strain) 800 years earlier.  Leslie is one of the bright spots in the movie.  Her portrayal is smartly acted and she balances the fine line between heroine and damsel in distress beautifully.  She is occasionally soft and vulnerable without being weepy.

Michael Caine (The Dark Knight Rises) and Elijah Woods (The Lord of the Rings) are good as Dolan 36 and 37 respectively.  Caine is a favorite of mine and he always seems to draw attention whenever he is on screen in any supporting role.  Woods is less charismatic but the subtlety serves his character well.

The special effects are generally well done with a few exceptions.  One of the later altercations between the Witch Queen and Kaulder has him dangling off the ground as she thrusts her hand into his chest cavity.  As he hangs there "twitching", his body looks more like an animatronic robot from a ride at Disney World than a real person being slowly drained of their life force.

Of course, the script left the door opened for a possible sequel, but based on this first go around, I can't imagine wanting to sit through more of the same.  I could see the film spawning several successful graphic novels, however.

While The Last Witch Hunter started off intriguing, it ended on a whimper that left me feeling unsatisfied and disappointed.  Not the worst film ever, but certainly not even close to the best.

Grade: C+

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MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 106 minutes
Distributed By: Lionsgate

For more information about The Last Witch Hunter visit the FlickDirect Movie Database.

About Allison Rose


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