The Last Witch Hunter (2015)

The Last Witch Hunter (2015)
  • Time: 106 min
  • Genre: Action | Adventure | Fantasy
  • Director: Breck Eisner
  • Cast: Vin Diesel, Rose Leslie, Elijah Wood, Michael Caine


The modern world holds many secrets, but the most astounding secret of all is that witches still live amongst us; vicious supernatural creatures intent on unleashing the Black Death upon the world. Armies of witch hunters battled the unnatural enemy across the globe for centuries, including Kaulder, a valiant warrior who managed to slay the all-powerful Queen Witch, decimating her followers in the process. In the moments right before her death, the Queen curses Kaulder with her own immortality, forever separating him from his beloved wife and daughter in the afterlife. Today Kaulder is the only one of his kind remaining, and has spent centuries hunting down rogue witches, all the while yearning for his long-lost loved ones. However, unbeknownst to Kaulder, the Queen Witch is resurrected and seeks revenge on her killer causing an epic battle that will determine the survival of the human race.


  • Do you know what it’s like to live forever? We can’t even comprehend the amount of emotions one might go through in an infinite lifetime. It’s difficult to have friends, family, since you would outlive them all. One might as well become a fighter or bounty hunter. Well, that is exactly what Vin Diesel signed up for in this year’s The Last Witch Hunter.

    Kaulder, an immortal witch hunter, killed the Queen of witches hundreds of years ago as she was killing humans with the Black Death. Before she was slain, however, she cursed him with immorality. Unable to die, he has set out to kill witches, as well as restore order between witches and non witches as they try to co-exist in the modern world without chaos.

    However, when his only friend, Dolan 36, is found murdered with magic, he suspects that witches were involved, sending him, the New Dolan (Dolan 37th) and Chloe to find out why Belial, an older witch from that time, murdered his friend. With hints of the Queen returning back to life to start another plague, Kaulder has little time to chit chat with witches, with time being of the essence.

    At first, Diesel’s voice is riddled with his usual Riddick tone, but once he provides a couple of amusing lines, he begins to stand out as a new character, not one you’ve seen in his previous films. It is also motivating to see the magic genre branch out more in the current 21st century. It is easy to just provide us some medieval tale with old English words and accents, with witches that need to avoid the sun. With so many novels about the genre, it was cool to realize that The Last Witch Hunter didn’t come from an adaptation, classical movie, novel, or even a board game (sorry Battleship, you get no excuse). There’s a scene where Chloe attempts to take a selfie with a sleeping Kaulder as she says “say Witch Hunter,” with Kaulder quickly opening his eyes to repeat “Witch Hunter,” freaking Chloe out. It’s one of the few moments where you remember it’s a fine set in today’s age, but it shows that witches and killers can act like us in modern times. The modern world with witches isn’t anything groundbreaking after all, but it’s less obvious that what we’ve been use to.

    The chemistry between Kaulder and Chloe though is so awkward, and not because Chloe is a couple of centuries younger than him. Instead of showing Kaulder find a platonic friendship in her, the writers instead focuses on a potential relationship between the two, one that wasn’t flushed out at all, and merely assumed with cliché lines.

    The CGI for the film is questionable sometimes, with the Queen Witch’s face being insightful, but the background during the flashbacks were hardly bearable to witness. Half the time, you will be impressed with how some witches look, while other times you’ll be impressed with how bad some close up shots really look.

    Believing that an immortal would have trouble fighting off foes was an issue that the movie took too long to address. With the film hinting at making this movie into a franchise (or at least one sequel), it would also help to have more kick ass scenes with Vin Diesel. You would think that there would be various scenes that are awesometacular, but the movie fails to show a badass scene. But with the story being original, the story can be taken anywhere, adding hope to a franchise whose ceiling is high and full of magic.

    The Last Witch Hunter is this year’s John Wick, proving to be one of the biggest “I’m shocked it didn’t suck” movies of the year. Some fall backs here and there, but for what some might expect, this proved to be an adventure movie that won’t be forgotten.

  • “Today we both die. I curse you with life. To never know peace. To walk the Earth alone for eternity. You will never die.”

    Isn’t it fun when some old-fashioned witch hunting is being used in a typical action-fantasy film. The last time I saw a duo at work who wanted to nip this venom in the bud, was in “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters”. The latter was a mediocre film, with the proportionally balanced curves of Gemma Arterton raising more enthusiasm than the film itself. In “The Last Witch Hunter” such a person isn’t included, but in return Vin Diesel was willing to appear. And that’s a guarantee for bloated body parts. In this case the muscles of this walking wardrobe.

    The film needs to warm up just like a real diesel. Once this is done, it switches into a higher gear. Although I think it shifted into high gear, because it threatens to derail once and a while. The intro shows a group of medieval bearded men, armed with grotesque, primitive weapons. One of them is Kaulder (Vin Diesel) who lost his family because of the plague. These warriors plan to eliminate the Witch Queen who summoned this curse. Kaulder succeeds. But before the Witch Queen dies, she curses Kaulder to an eternal life. Flash forward to today’s society. We see Kaulder furiously (yep) driving a flashy sports car and living in an expensive penthouse where he enjoys his passion for beautiful women. In between he still tries to get rid of witches.

    What follows is a fairly fuzzy story about a conspiracy to bring the witch queen back to life. Kaulder tries to prevent this from happening with the cooperation of the not so evil witch Chloe (Rose Leslie). The witch hunter is also assisted by a person of a medieval organization called the Axe and Cross, an ancient brotherhood of priests. The assistant is a priest called Dolan (Michael Caine). When this counsel is apparently murdered, his successor jumps in to help (Elijah Wood). Yep, you can say it’s a chaotic story.

    My opinion about this average movie is short and concise. The best thing this film has to offer, are the sometimes dazzling special effects. And that’s about it, because the rest is really too sad for words. Uninspired acting (except that of Rose Leslie who took care of some humor) with a dead boring, emotionless Vin Diesel and overly geeky Elijah Wood whose white turtleneck irritated me throughout the film. That night I had more nightmares about this horrible clothing than about those nasty looking witches. “The last Witch Hunter” isn’t really exciting so to speak and sometimes it comes across as implausible. Diesel’s jugglery with some ancient rune stones aboard an airliner, to control a storm, is such an example. Pretty laughable. All in all I rather see Vin appearing in a movie like “xXx”, so he can flex his muscles again while producing that primitive growling of his. Apparently there’s a sequel in the making. I’ll probably let that one magically go past me.

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  • Darned witches! Why can’t they just leave us alone? For no apparent reason, a whole coven of them tormented a town full of bored teenage girls in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1692. (Come on, witches! Wasn’t the fact that those girls had to wait another 200+ years for cell phones and Facebook torture enough??) Then, in 1900, a book documented how one witch kept bothering this poor little girl named Dorothy who just wanted to grab her dog and get back to Kansas. (But why would anyone want to get BACK to Kansas?) Then, in the late 20th and early 21st century, all sorts of mean and evil witches kept getting in the way of that Harry Potter chap. (And all he wanted to do was make a few movies about his life, so he could move on and make some really bad movies.) You’d think that all this mischief and all the TV series that witches get to appear in these days would be enough for them, but NO, they have to try to destroy the whole human race! That’s the set-up for “The Last Witch Hunter” (PG-13, 1:46).

    Diesel stars as the title character, a man named Kaulder. We don’t know what his first name is, but let’s just say it’s Ron. It seems appropriate for a witch hunter, especially if he’s listed last name first, in an alphabetized list of professional witch hunters. Well, that probably is a moot point, seeing as Kaulder is the LAST witch hunter. Although he looks young enough to drive a fast car parachuting from the back of an airplane, he’s actually 800 years old (give or take). When he and a bunch of other rough-looking medieval swordsmen storm the lair of the Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht), Kaulder’s flaming sword runs her through, but with her dying breath she curses him with her own immortality. Now, he’s condemned to live alone and forever mourn the deaths of his wife and daughter. (He’s a medieval hero, so, of course, someone has killed his wife and young child.) On the bright side, the Witch Queen’s demise also ended her attempt to wipe out all of humanity with the infamous Black Plague.

    Fast forward to present day New York City. Kaulder has outlived his fellow witch hunters by about 780 years (give or take) and it falls to him to keep the surviving witches’ evil at bay. And he’s been very successful. He has an aide, called a Dolan, specifically assigned to him by “The Order of the Axe and Cross”, a secret group within the Catholic Church, which assists with and documents Kaulder’s mission. As the movie opens, Dolan 36 (Michael Caine) is retiring and Dolan 37 (Elijah Wood) is set to succeed him. The night before the… Dolanizing ceremony, Dolan 36 is found dead. Kaulder considered 36 a good friend and suspects there is something more to his passing than the usual lack of immortality. He’s right. With 37 at his side, Kaulder investigates the emergence of an evil he hasn’t seen in… eight centuries.

    This whole Dolan 36 murder mystery threatens to undermine a truce between witches and humans that has lasted since Kaulder vanquished the Witch Queen. Witches have lived among us since then and have been allowed to practice their dark arts, as long as they didn’t use their magic on humans. Rather than try to hunt down and kill all witches, Kaulder has to focuses his efforts. (After all, how much can one person do? The man’s 800 years old, for goodness sakes!) What he does is find rogue witches, especially those who break the rules of the truce, and delivers them to a council of witches who sentence the guilty to an eternal state of suspended animation. In this case, however, finding the offending witch won’t be enough for Kaulder. He suspects that what’s happening is much bigger than one bad witch trying to spoil the witches’ brew. Kaulder teams up with a witch named Chloe (Rose Leslie) and they work together for the sake of both his people and her… kind. Along the way, we learn that Chloe is a witch with special powers that not all witches possess – and she’s going to need all the powers that she can muster. Bubbling beneath the surface of this whole cauldron of discontent is a very dangerous secret and an even more dangerous conspiracy that could make for a really bad day for everybody.

    “The Last Witch Hunter” is a very personal project for Diesel – and it shows – in both good ways and bad. This movie would have been out earlier, but filming was pushed back when production on “Furious 7” was delayed following Paul Walker’s death. Kaulder is actually based on Diesel’s own witch hunter character that he uses as an avid Dungeons and Dragons player. Unfortunately, for all Diesel’s devotion to this project, his characterization of Kaulder feels a bit odd. Rather than giving us an understandably serious and tortured character who has his light moments, we get a man whose modern-day version seems too light-hearted, with all he’s been through in his past and all he’s dealing with in his present.

    Aside from certain moments in Diesel’s uneven performance, the rest of the movie’s pretty entertaining. The little-known supporting cast is surprisingly good. I like the tie-in with actual historical events, but the progression of the story is vague. (It’s probably Europe, but we don’t really know where the big scene at the Witch Queen’s headquarters takes place. And we never learn how or why Kaulder chose New York City for his current base of operations, or much else from the previous 800 years.) The story (a supernatural version of “Men in Black”) and the action are very good and the visuals are great. I give this one a mild recommendation and predict that this will not be the last “Last Witch Hunter”. “B”

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