The Last Witch Hunter (12A)
Running time 1hr 46mins
VIN Diesel made his name in the Fast and Furious franchise, and – XXX aside – it’s fair to say he’s struggled to diversify.
First rising to prominence in science-fiction horror Pitch Black as laconic anti-hero Riddick, he’s trodden the family-friendly route with The Pacifier and traversed other forgettable action fare but he’s rarely broken out of his F&F mould. To be fair, with seven instalments under his belt and another in production, he hasn’t had a whole heap of time to do much else. Except for The Last Witch Hunter, of course; also not the project to inject new life into the actor’s career.
So, the story. Diesel is the titular witch slayer who is cursed with immortality by Witch Queen Julie Engelbrecht centuries ago. It’s now the modern day, and Kaulder (Diesel) has spent the years protecting the human race from these malevolent beings. When
trouble resurfaces following the apparent breaking of a fragile truce, Kaulder enlists the help of good witch Chloe (Rose Leslie) to thwart attempts to destroy him – and humankind.
Cashing in on Game of Thrones fever, the resurgence of Dungeons and Dragons and all things fantasy, The Last Witch Hunter also taps into the tweenage market thirsty for a new franchise to imbibe. But what it fails to do is offer up something engaging. A plodding plot and uninspired action sequences, coupled with some ropey special effects, make for an unremarkable cinema
experience. As for the acting – well, it’s been a long time since you’ve seen performances this bad. And that’s despite valiant efforts from Downton’s Rose Leslie to wrestle some semblance of credibility from the clutches of a dying-on-his-feet Diesel. Oh, and what was Michael Caine thinking?
Let’s hope The Last Witch Hunter is the first and last of its kind.
Seriously, you wouldn’t want a sequel and, as for this one, you’ll want to close your eyes and wish it away.