The Last Witch-Hunter
Are you thinking of making a movie and want to cast someone famous? Just call Michael Caine! He’ll do it. And judging from The Last Witch Hunter you wouldn’t even need to send him a script.
It’s a contemporary story, set in New York, where witches have for centuries walked secretly among us while keeping their noses clean. Vin Diesel is Kaulder, the titular hunter, who is tasked with destroying the Queen Witch once and for all.
This is not the worst immortal-slayer-of-evil film ever made, but it’s an odd choice of vehicle for Caine, paired as he is with the smoothly spoken Diesel, and odder still when LOTR’s Elijah Wood steps into the frame as the enthusiastic young priest who takes on the role of Kaulder’s “historian, fixer and confidante”.
But wait, there’s more: the feisty, Titian-haired female who joins this motley crew is none other than Rose Leslie from Game of Thrones/Downton Abbey (depending on your TV-viewing proclivities). Actually, the easy rapport between these disparate actors is initially part of the movie’s charm, and with impressive production design and some economical storytelling, The Last Witch Hunter begins with promise as it juxtaposes the beautiful with the sinister. There’s even an unexpected cameo by Kiwi Rena Owen.
However, soon the plot loses its thread and a couple of supposedly important moments have the air sucked out of them and land with a thud. The trailer promises aspects that the film mysteriously doesn’t deliver, so it’s hard to know whether the ensuing narrative incomprehensibility can be blamed on the cobbled-together additional photography or whether the recipe for this broth was spoilt even before it was brewed.