Over the Labor Day weekend I spent some quality time planted on the couch in front of the TV. An incredible amount of time was spent enjoying the opening weekend of the College Football season. However, I did get to catch up on a few films I missed when they were in theaters.

On Sunday night I stayed up late to watch Vin Diesel‘s “The Last Witch Hunter.” My quick and dirty review is – not bad, not too bad!

vin-diesel-and-rose-leslie-in-the-last-witch-hunter

The Last Witch Hunter

The movie is your standard hero tale, nothing you haven’t seen before. I’m not going to bore you with a plot synopsis, you can check IMDB for that. Basically Vin plays, Kaulder, a guy who is immortal and hunts witches. Fortunately Vin looks like he’s having a good time and doesn’t spend too much time with his pouty/serious face (only 85% of the film has that).

Digging deep, here are three Pluses and three Minuses to the film:

PLUSES:

  1. Rose Leslie is wonderful in this flick as the sidekick/love interest Chloe. It looks like she’s enjoying herself immensely and does a great job of holding her own against the constantly brooding Diesel. She made this movie for me, without her I don’t think I would have sat through the entire thing. She can walk through my dreams any time! (she plays a witch who can manipulate dreams).
  2. The pace is fairly snappy. You don’t spend much time lingering on any point so long that you start to question the film’s world. Any movie that has witchcraft as the primary driving force requires an incredible amount of world-building and suspension of disbelief. The Last Witch Hunter does a good job withe the mythology and keeping the magic realistic – or at least realistic enough to enjoy.
  3. Special effects are critical to a movie of this sort and they are done very well here. There are numerous scenes that rely completely on the effects and they are done very well. One of my favorite effects was seeing the candy tree that turns into a sour apple tree when Kaulder snaps a kid out of a spell. Are they revolutionary special effects? No, but they were done well and keep the viewer engrossed.

MINUSES:

  1. You have the incredible Michael Caine in your cast and you kill him off early in the film? What the hell man? I get that his death sets up the rest of the film, but dammit, he’s Michael Frickin’ Caine! I want to see him out there kicking witch ass too!
  2. I’m sorry, but I cannot watch Elijah Wood on screen anymore without thinking that he’s Frodo Baggins. I kept waiting for Sean Astin to appear as his buddy Sam. That should be their shtick, any time one of them gets cast in something, the other shows up as a secondary or background friend. Yes, Elijah has been totally pigeonholed in my mind as a hobbit.
  3. The script is completely and utterly predictable. If you want to watch something that will keep you guessing, don’t watch this. I saw the eventual big betrayal before Michael Caine bit the dust. It’s no surprise that Kaulder attempts to play the lone wolf hero, but needs the spunky female sidekick of Chloe to help him defeat evil, while also getting over the loss of his family over 800 years ago. Seriously, it’s been 800 frickin’ years, move on!

The Five Hallmarks of a Quality Action Flick (4/5):

  • NUDITY = NONE! I was expecting a good Rose Leslie shower scene before they take on the final battle, but was totally disappointed. I guess that’s why it was rated PG-13. Major missed opportunity for the Producers.
  • GEAR UP SCENE = You know it! It wasn’t as good as some, but Vin Diesel pulling a broadsword out of his arsenal is a good look.
  • COOL CARS = The 2014 Aston Martin Rapide S is Kaulder’s ride of choice. Not a bad ride either. As they cut to the credits we watch Rose drift the car around your typical traffic-free big city.
  • WEAPONS = Swords and shotguns! Kaulder wields both. He has his best success with his sword. The gun-play was lame at best.
  • MEANINGFUL FRIEND DIES = Oh yeah, Michael Caine gets killed off in the first third of the film, setting up the entire rest of the movie.

If you’ve got an hour and 45 minutes, it’s totally worth a watch. Don’t make plans around it, but it’s a fun little flick. Like I said, I enjoyed Rose Leslie’s part the most.

There were plans for a sequel, but those were killed off when the move bombed at the box office. Too bad, I’d love to see another go-around with Kaulder and Chloe. And isn’t that the truest test of a movie? If you’d watch a sequel?

Have you seen “The Last Witch Hunter?” if so, what did you think?

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