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THE LAST WITCH HUNTER (review)

Review by Elizabeth Robbins
Produced by Mark Canton, Bernie Goldmann
Written by Cory Goodman, Matt Sazama, Burk Sharpless
Directed by Breck Eisner
Starring Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood,
Michael Caine, Julie Engelbrecht, Rena Owen,
Ólafur Darri Ólafsson, Isaach De Bankolé,
Lotte Verbeek, Bex Taylor-Klaus

Remember when it was okay for fantasy films to be fun and campy in a non-ironic way?

The Last Witch Hunter reminds me of a 50’s B movie with better effects.

Vin Diesel is Kauldar, a warrior from another time who battles an evil witch who is bent on destroying the world.

He is then cursed by the witch with immortality. Flash forward 800 years to present day, Kauldar is the lone soldier for a mysterious order of the church. His mission is to protect the truce that now exists between humans and witches.

Kaulder hunts the renegade witches that would harm humanity. Sidekicks Michael Caine and Elijah Wood are priests acting as Kauldar’s handlers and chroniclers. No fantasy film is complete without the fiery damsel that the hero cannot succeed without. Rose Leslie plays Chloe, the witch turned assistant witch hunter that pulls Kaulder out of the fire on several occasions.

Sounds ridiculous?

It is. The Last Witch Hunter knows exactly what it is, and doesn’t try to be more than an hour and a half of pure entertainment.

The plot is simple. It’s twist and turns do not reveal any great surprises. However knowing that Vin Diesel is a D&D player in real life and it has been rumored that some parts of the film are inspired by his past campaigns lends an extra level of enjoyment to the film. If you’ve played before, you’ll see what I mean. If not, well, skip the next paragraph.

The opening of the film reads like a D&D campaign. When one of the side characters has an early gruesome demise I thought. “Well, that guys rolled a 1.” 

Vin Diesel fends off an attacker with particular style, “Oh, of course Kauldar must have rolled a natural 20.” What seems like the obvious move, gets the next guy killed.

The whole scene smacks of a particularly vindictive DM. 

We feel your pain, Vin, we’ve all been there before.

It’s that obvious love of fantasy that makes the film so enjoyable. Vin Diesel looks like he is having the time of his life, and that is fun to watch. Especially in a time where it seems Hollywood film after film of dystopian societies and the protagonists so grim or melancholy that you wish they would just shut up and take a Prozac.

It is refreshing to have hero who acts like a hero. It’s all fantasy after all.

Is it silly?

Absolutely. But sometimes silly is what goes best with popcorn.

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