The Last Witch Hunter movie full length review - Failed to live up to the hype
800 years ago Kaulder killed the witch queen, but she cursed him with enhanced self healing, which in turn spelled immortality.
Now he is the weapon of The Axe and Cross, a secret church order dedicated in monitoring witches who live in secret among humans. On a plane to NYC, he intercepts a witch who carelessly jammed powerful weather runes into her bag, causing massive storms. For centuries a priest titled Dolan has been Kaulder's servant. Now the 36th Dolan is going to retire, and he leaves Kaulder to his successor the 37th. After the new Dolan's initiation ceremony, Kaulder and him go to the old Dolan's place. Out of habit Kaulder senses for magic, which he finds none. But after noticing strange bugs in the room with closed window, Kaulder finds hidden magic and a herb that mediated it. They go to see a warlock Max, who informs them of the herb's buyer's faint description. Kaulder easily finds the place and arrests the person, Alec, with possession of old Dolan's pen. Kaulder and the new Dolan bring Alec to the with council, which then quickly incarcerated him.
Kaulder argues that there's still a mastermind behind Ellic but the council disagrees, until he finds another of the strange bug on one of them. He goes to the old Dolan's body and finds that he's actually not dead yet but cursed to look like dead. The only way to break the curse is to kill the caster, Belial, whom Ellic was working for. He also finds clues old Dolan left him, instructing him to remember his own death years ago. Kaulder visits Chloe's witch bar to get a memory potion for it, but Belial interrupts the memory and torched the bar down. Chloe brings Kaulder to Miranda's for her memory potion's supplies, but Belial proceeds them and killed Miranda. They go to Danique's for the memory but she traps him in a hallucination. Chloe reached into it and pulls him out. Thus Kaulder find out that Chloe is a dream-walker. She then helps him remember the death memory. It turns out that the queen's heart, the one thing ensuring her survival, wasn't destroyed. The first Dolan instead kept it as it was linked to Kaulder's life. Kaulder then confronts the new Dolan about it and realizes that Belial is trying to revive the queen. He confronts him and manages to kill him, but the queen's already revived.
Kaulder then gets his arsenal and with Chloe he goes to the witch prison. The queen has hypnotized the prisoners into chant a spell supporting her. Kaulder breaks Ellic out of his cell to break the chant chain link and Chloe delves into his mind as Kaulder divert the prison sentinel. Chloe succeeds in stopping the chant and Kaulder confronts the queen. He gets cornered but regains upper hand as he turns on his sword's flames. But the new Dolan stops Kaulder, revealing himself as a mole. The queen hypnotizes Chloe to the chant and kills the new Dolan. Kaulder slips into a dream but his wife and daughter's spirits wake him up and he triumphs over the queen. Kaulder is about to kill the queen's heart as Chloe stops him, saying that there are other monsters beside the queen. Kaulder decides to keep fighting and the old Dolan decides to keep serving him.
The story isn't really that interesting since there's already a bunch of movies and TV shows with the same witch theme. This creates a big challenge for this movie to grab audience attention. Thus it seems, this movie rather failed to cope with this challenge. The story seems just to be just a standard tale, trapped on behind the shadows of old franchises similar to this like Harry Potter and Charmed. Yet this movie also tried to incorporate the more adventurous sides of witch hunt movies like Hansel and Gretel or Season of the Witch.
I got to say that the movie put adequate weight on the horror side. Those flashbacks and hallucinations scenes sure did a good job in supplanting the story with nice story emphasis and pace regulating. But the equally heavy action side this movie feels like it got stretched so much. All those flaming swords and Kaulder gets thrown around and impaled really pulled back the focus from the more intriguing horror side.
The movie's twists and turns feels quite nice, yet they failed to give enough surprise due to various reasons. The whole queen's immortality trickery has been used similarly in many movies that it barely surprised me. The thing with the new Dolan is also really a see-through thing due to cast selection. Oe would really prefer Michael Caine as a servant, for his experience as Alfred for three times, rather than the mediocre job Frodo did with the ring, LOL. But for me it's quite strange that the movie should end that way it did.
The acting in overall is really a weird dose for me. It's utterly strange to see Vin Diesel not creating a new persona for this franchise starter role. To me Kaulder looked like how Dom Torreto would be on a Harry Potter movie. We all know Vin can really create a more distinct character persona, like what he did for Riddick. Rose Leslie nicely balanced the story. Her characteristics played well enough for her role. Michael Caine also did well in balancing Kaulder's character, although he only had less screen time here. Elijah Wood did just enough in portraying the curious and eager character of his role, just enough to create diversion from its eventual twist.
My say for The Last Witch Hunter (2015) is a score of a mere 6 out of 10. A recommendation would have come from me if I publish this review back when this movie first released. But now there's more interesting picks in the cinemas instead.