So I want to go see The Last Witch Hunter. I went going in thinking this movie is either going to be stupid or it’s going to be SO stupid and take itself so un-seriously that I’ll actually be enjoying it (like watching Big Trouble in Little China, it’s stupid but really fun). The problem was that it was actually a good movie, I’m not going to say it’s great movie, but it’s in line with a decent modern fantasy story in the realm of Constantine or Bless the Child—not a great film, not something you would need to watch over and over again (or ever again) but a good two hours of mindless entertainment. I really shouldn’t be surprised, Vin Diesel (when not around cars) turns in consistently fun, albeit stupid, movies.
The story of The Last Witch Hunter follows Kaulder (Vin Diesel) a medical warrior who had the bad fortune to get cursed with eternal life when he killed the genocidal environmentalist Witch Queen centuries ago (it is a curse when you figure you get to watch all your friends die and never get to be reunited with them). But as he is immortal he serves as a weapon of the Church against witches (who are apparently something other than human) who violate a delicate truce that has been reached between the rival factions. His life over the centuries has become almost routine, which reputation among the magic using witches is something akin to the boogeyman.
However his rather routine life is upset when his last emissary to the church (Michael Caine in an all too familiar father figure role, despite being centuries younger than his character’s charge) is murdered by witches in the first step to brining the Witch Queen back in order to end humanity. In the course of trying to prevent this he teams up with Caine’s replacement (Elijah Wood) and a witch who is not nearly as evil as some of her kin.
One of the nice things about this movie is that while Diesel is never going to get an Oscar, or any critical acclaim, the fact is he does actually try to act in all of his films…no matter how silly they are. So, as usual, you get a solid performance from the man in this film. He makes the character believable, he makes the character likable, and he makes the movie fun with that combination of humor and action we all wish more actors could master.
The supporting cast also, for the most part, is fairly good with the one exception of Elijah Wood who realizes that his career is probably at its end and is more or less phoning it in for most of this film. Can you blame him, he’s been trying to get a serious acting job since he was a child and besides playing a hobbit, he hasn’t had much luck at anything.
I don’t know if this was the intention (probably not as reading deeply into this film is almost certainly a mistake) but I will say on a slightly political note it’s nice to know the main villains of this film are psychotic environmentalists who feel that mankind needs to be wiped out because it tears down trees and makes buildings and does all things against nature in a truly psychotic and close minded way. You know the same insanity of most environmentalists. So really the Witch Queen is pretty much Al Gore, but not quite as ugly or stiff. Also the film shows this kind of environmental terrorist happen to be the people who are extreme racists, who if you’re not exactly like me you must die…here again pretty much like most leftists.
So while this is not Oscar quality, and even in a lackluster year it will not be making my list of the top films of the year (I will certainly put it in honorable mentions) it is still a good two hours worth of entertainment. You probably will not regret paying the money for the ticket.