If shapeshifters, dreamwalkers and runestones get you excited, there might be just enough to keep you interesting in this occult fantasy action film staring Vin Diesel.
Those not enamoured with the dark arts will be less patient with this derivative and often confused story about a witchslayer hounded by a resurrected witch he killed 800 years earlier. Much like last year's The Seventh Son, The Last Witch Hunter throws together impressive effects, a fancy cast, and sword swirling action - but doesn't add up to much.
The story starts with a chaotic action scene in a medieval witches' lair where Diesel's Kaulder takes his revenge on the Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht) who released a plague that killed his family.
The catch? As she burns she curses Kaulder with immortality.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Forward to present day New York, where a better-dressed Kaulder is still keeping witches in line, leading a solitary existence with only his assistant - a priest called Dolan 36th (Caine) - for company. When a curse is placed on his sidekick, Kaulder is alerted to a threat to the peaceful truce between witches and humans, and he must stop the Witch Queen rising again.
Along the way some interesting people appear, including Rena Owen as the leader of the witches council, and there are some notable special effects. For the most part though, we flick back into Kaulder's memory for clues as to what's happening, which becomes a rather tedious way to piece the puzzle together.
There's little chemistry between Caine and Diesel, whose characters have been working together for 50 years. But then Diesel doesn't really look comfortable with any of his co-stars, including another priest character, played by Elijah Wood. Caine at least brings humour to his role, not unlike Alfred in the Batman movies.
The relationship is a touch better with new sidekick Chloe, a witch played by Game of Thrones' Rose Leslie, who is equally as enthusiastic as Diesel. But hard as they both try with this cheesy supernatural saga, the often incoherent and repetitive plot doesn't have enough thrilling action to redeem its other shortcomings.
The Last Witch Hunter
Cast: Vin Diesel, Michael Caine
Director: Breck Eisner
Running Time: 106 mins
Rating: M (Violence, offensive language)
Verdict: Tame, predictable supernatural saga.