Movie Review: “The Last Witch Hunter”
Max Bickley – General Assignment Reporter
Witches come in many shapes and sizes, from pointed hats and brooms and costumes to sometimes rotting bags of flesh and bugs. When it comes to “The Last Witch Hunter,” a recent release in theaters for Halloween starring Vin Diesel, witches range from looking like Halloween nightmares to average people trying to get by and make a living.
The story of “The Last Witch Hunter” is one which begins during the time of the Black Plague, which was caused by witch magic.
The story follows Kaulder, a man in furs and chainmail seen to be on a hunt for the Witch Queen, who has caused the Black Plague in Europe. After being cursed by the Witch Queen with immortality, Kaulder is made into a witch hunting weapon by a church organization through the centuries until peace is forged in modern day between witches and humans. However, after a series of deaths, Kaulder is back on the hunt as war begins to brew in New York.
One of the best parts about the movie are the witches themselves and their magic. The witches have such a range of looks and styles that it adds a depth to each witch encountered.
The Witch Queen, who is a mistress of black magic, looks like she is a decaying corpse made of roots and bugs constantly crawl around her, while the witch Chloe, played by Rose Leslie, wears a lot more low-key punkish clothes.
The magic is what makes the world of the witches so interesting. There are magical opium dens which sell euphoric potions, magical bars with ghostly table lights and magic ranging from shapeshifting to explosions of fire. However, while there was a fair bit of magic shown it was sparse and repeated at times, sadly there was no magical combat between witches.
However, where the movie lacked in witch on witch combat, it made up for combat scenes pitting Diesel up against a witch with weapons like shotguns and bludgeons. There could have also been more of these scenes, but the ones in the film were fast-paced and well-choreographed, making each one an exciting watch.
Diesel’s acting though is one of the best parts of the film. For those who do not know, this movie is inspired by Vin Diesel’s Dungeons and Dragons character, and you can tell that Diesel put in serious work and enjoyment into this movie.
This is shown in a description of a male magic user Diesel goes to see when he describes him as “A fourteenth level Warlock.”
Diesel’s character is one who has lived for 800 years and in how he acts and reacts to the world seems very genuine and his experience and numbness really shines.
There is one scene where he is talking to Elijah Wood’s character, who acts as his handler, and talks about watching the construction of New York City when it was New Amsterdam in colonial times. The emotion is believable, and the conviction that he shows for his role is admirable.
However interesting and good the acting and world is the movie does fall to some typical tropes of a fantasy action movie. There is a somewhat pointless love story between Diesel and Leslie’s characters. In addition, there are a couple of instances where the CGI seems a little too hokey. The pacing is also sometimes too fast and it leaves a feeling of needing more satisfaction from the film.
But, this film is not one which is to be academy award winning. This film is just meant to be fun to watch and that is what it does. Diesel does a well job with his role, and his enjoyment and passion can be seen on the screen as well. The story is intriguing, the characters likeable and relatable, and it is just a movie to have fun with.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore