7/10
Not-so-typical witches-hunter
22 October 2015
Besides short segments taking place in the Middle Ages and another on a plane, this supernatural flick takes place in modern New York. We have Vin Diesel's character, Kaulder, a man who lost his family due to witches, still alive after 800 years and still hunting them. One would think that Kaulder would be a stereotypical stoic, somber, asocial killing machine, but such is not quite the case. I was pleasantly surprised to find Vin Diesel more smiling and "human" than usual. In fact, on more than one occasion, his hero actually showed restraint and compassion, which was quite refreshing. After that Middle-Ages intro, I thought all the witches would be evil, despicable, one-dimensional creatures (which would have been boring) but then again, I was fooled as we actually delved more into the modern witch community.

As far as story goes, despite the seemingly cliché setup, I'd say it was stronger than usual for that kind of supernatural-action film with a few good twists I didn't see coming. The special effects were rather good and I especially liked how the magic was so nature-oriented (as it should be for witches). One of the neatest places was that bar with the subtle light magic. I also liked the design of the old witches and that bone sentinel. There was visual stuff there I hadn't actually seen before or at least a dozen times over. Unfortunately, I found the action scenes somewhat weak in general. I know that close-in fighting is supposed to be messy and chaotic but the cuts here were sometimes so poorly done I had trouble knowing what was happening. Thankfully, it's never as bad as in that first fight in the past, and it does get better as the film goes on. So don't go in expecting to be thrilled too much by the quality of the action.

Surrounding the more-emotional-than-usual Diesel, there's actually a pretty decent cast including Michael Caine (always classy), Elijah Wood (amusing and solid) and Rose Leslie, that redhead wild woman from Game of Thrones. For me, she was the highlight acting-wise and elevated everything up a dramatic notch. As for the directing, besides the poor action and annoying flares, it was competent but not particularly memorable. The "dream" visions were nice, but then they usually are. I saw this at a preview screening and there wasn't much crowd reaction, however it should be noted that the film kept my (very) jaded interest throughout. I didn't have trouble with the pacing or story confusion as other reviewers did. I actually found the world of the Last Witch Hunter somewhat intriguing and enjoyable.

Rating: 7 out of 10 (good)
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