The Last Witch Hunter – Film Review V2.0 by C.K. MacNamara
Directed by: Breck Eisner
Starring: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, Michael Caine
Dumping everything from Game of Thrones to Chronicles of Riddick and garnishing the resulting landfill with a tempting cast, The Last Witch Hunter pours a million things on screen, and still manages to land at zero.
Starring Vin Diesel in his usual role of muscled brick with a frowny face drawn on it, the film recounts the tale of Kaulder – a grizzled nordic warrior stomping around a frozen wasteland to save his people from an ancient evil (inspired by Game of Thrones sounds so much nicer than plagiarized). Kaulder inevitably finds and slays the source of all this mischief: a scheming witch who vows in revenge that he will never die in full throated bubble, toil and trouble cackling.
The medieval saga then takes a jarring shift to the modern day, with the viking Kaulder replaced by Diesel’s Fast and Furious persona Dominic Toretto in all but name. Kaulder 2.0 is a sort of millionaire sheriff tasked with enforcing the laws of New York City’s magical community and preventing the return of his old nemesis, whilst struggling with his curse of invincibility (spoiler alert: it’s not much of a curse).
Diesel is firmly in his comfort zone, exerting himself only during the action and otherwise content to allow his supporting cast to fill in the gaps, which despite the efforts of Rose Leslie and Elijah Wood proves to be an impossible task.
From beginning to end The Last Witch Hunter battles with its conflicting influences, veering from scene to carefully packaged but unrelated scene with zero overarching cohesion; little wonder when considering just how many hands the script passed through before settling on its final iteration. Diesel himself had a large part in the writing, literally copy/pasting drafts of his own Dungeons and Dragons character into the narrative quagmire.
The resulting Frankenstein story and epileptic execution lands as a predictable flop, regardless of Diesel’s assertion his self-insert fan-fiction is a suitable foundation for a new film franchise.