Vin Diesel has become the sergeant of sequels in Hollywood. Pitch Black and The Fast and the Furious have both had numerous sequels making them extremely successful franchises. Guardians of the Galaxy has at least one more movie coming, although Groot (voice by Vin Diesel) could sprout up in any future Marvel movie at any point. And now even xXx is bringing Xander back into the fold for another sequel. The point is that studios are banking on the fact that he has a good track record of being more than a one and done kind of guy. With that being said, The Last Witch Hunter hopes to follow in the footsteps of some of his previous works in the hopes of finding a spot in viewers hearts for this new character.
Kaulder (Vin Diesel) has walked the Earth longer than anyone. In his “younger days” he worked with others to take down a coven of witches that threatened their land. During a battle with the Queen, Kaulder was cursed with the gift of immortality. Over the next 800 years or so he’s had to endure a lonely, singular life as he has become The Last Witch Hunter. The purpose that he gave himself was to police the witches of the world, keeping them in line and not allowing them to harm mortals, especially by using magic.
Kaulder works with a group of religious men who observe and record his activities and these Dolans as they’re known even act a friends and confidants occasionally. One such person is known as Dolan 36th (Michael Caine) who has worked with Kaulder for 50 years. He has become the closest thing to a friend that Kaulder has known since his curse. The years have caught up to Dolan 36th and it has become time for him to retire and pass the responsibilities over to Dolan 37th (Elijah Wood). As this changing of the guard occurs there is a new evil that comes to light. This evil is out to resurrect the witches rule and dominance over the world of pathetic mortals. There’s only one man that can stop this from happening, The Last Witch Hunter.
Vin Diesel is typical Vin Diesel in The Last Witch Hunter. By that I mean he speaks in the same bravado filled deep baritone voice. He drives fast cars. He takes on bad guy (or girl) after bad guy (or girl) in his typical tough guy way. The role that was written for him was one that we’ve seen a few too many times now and it’s starting to get old. Michael Caine does his typical speeches and stories that involve lessons infused with wisdom. Elijah Wood is the quiet mouse once again scurrying about trying to be helpful but is mostly invisible. Rose Leslie (Ygritte on Game of Thrones) plays Chloe, a mystical shop owner, who reluctantly gets involved in Kaulder’s crusade against the Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht). Her involvement is more paramount to the story but there’s nothing that makes her performance conversation worthy. Everything is just bland across the board with not one person standing out above the others.
The Last Witch Hunter is exactly what most might expect. Vin Diesel speaking in a gravelly voice while slashing, punching or kicking anyone who gets in his way. The story is very vanilla and extremely predictable. Originally, the man known for visual spectacles and creative prowess, Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Wanted, Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter) was to direct this film but for whatever reasons he was replaced and the script was re-written as well. Sadly one can’t help but wonder what might have been. As for what is, well that isn’t much. There’s no way possible that this should warrant a sequel even though they clearly leave it open for one. While some parts are nice to look at, it’s kinda hard to watch and you’ll find yourself watch checking which is never a good sign. There is nothing compelling enough to make me recommend seeing this in theaters so just wait until you can see it at a bargain. This also extends to the biggest of Vin Diesel fans because you might be disappointed most of all.