The Last Witch Hunter

Directed By: Breck Eisner

Starring: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, and Michael Caine

Considering he began Universal's amazing streak this year with the $1.5 billion box office haul of Furious 7 and that he solidified his place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Groot in last year's Guardians of the Galaxy, Vin Diesel should be on top of the world right now.  He should be taking a victory lap before getting back to the things that are helping his career to flourish.  Instead, he's been fending off attacks on the web about his "dad bod".  Instead, he's getting back into the business of making bad movies.  Instead, he's starring in one of this weekend’s box office duds with The Last Witch Hunter.

Eight hundred years ago, an evil witch known only as the Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht) unleashes a black plague on mankind to destroy it and take back the world that rightfully belongs to witches.  With a group of men, a warrior named Kaulder (Vin Diesel) launched an assault on the Witch Queen to put an end to her treacherous ways.  In reality, they're all likely to die in battle given how formidable the Witch Queen is.  For a man whose wife and daughter are long gone from this world, death is welcomed.  On this day in history, however, Kaulder kills the Witch Queen.  Before dying, she manages to curse Kaulder with immortality, meaning that he'll never see his family.

Fast forward to the present day.  Kaulder has joined a religious order known as Ax & Cross as their weapon.  He's a witch hunter.  Working with Father Dolan (Michael Caine) as his confidant and advisor, he fulfills the wishes of the Witch Council bringing evil witches and warlocks to justice.  After fifty years of working with his 36th Dolan, Father Dolan decides to retire.  The 37th Dolan (Elijah Wood) takes his vows and succeeds the old man.  That very same night, Father Dolan dies.  Suspecting foul play, Kaulder begins exploring the circumstances of his old friend's death.  The only clue he finds is the bloody text "Remember your death" from Dolan's Bible.  For help with the investigation, he turns to witch Chloe (Rose Leslie) for a memory potion.  Little does Kaulder know that all roads lead to the resurrection of his arch nemesis the Witch Queen.

Let me give you an idea of the frame of mind in which The Last Witch Hunter puts me.  Think I, Frankenstein.  Think Dracula Untold.  Think Riddick.  I don't reflect on any of these films fondly, and the same will hold true for The Last Witch Hunter in the not-too-distant future.  Allergic to meaningful narratives, developed characters, and general common sense, this witch-themed action flick marks a big misstep for Vin Diesel.  This is an action spectacle that's all about Vin Diesel swinging a big sword in the midst of some grand special effects.  Like all of the other films I've mentioned, there's absolutely nothing else to the movie.

Devoid of a strong narrative and worthwhile characters, Breck Eisner's action spectacle is heavily reliant on the charms of its stars, and that's not saying much at all considering the lead.  Simply put, Vin Diesel is not a talker, and there's a good reason for it.  He's an action star, not a thespian.  As much as we've all enjoyed his work over the years, he can't carry a movie in that way.  With Michael Caine sidelined and Elijah Wood giving a rather muted performance, our bona fide thespians aren't exactly carrying the load either.  This leaves Rose Leslie of Game of Thrones fame.  She is just portraying the film's love interest, no more and no less.  With this role, she doesn't have anything meaty enough to elevate The Last Witch Hunter.  All in all, it's safe to say that Eisner doesn't exactly utilize his ensemble to play on their strengths.  It's just one more failure of the film.

It appears that I'll be warming up a spot for The Last Witch Hunter on this year's wasted movie list because Vin Diesel and Breck Eisner serve up one big disappointment with this one.  You're going to need to add some red headed sluts to their offering to swallow it.  The Last Witch Hunter gets a wasted rating.