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Review: The Last Witch Hunter

The Witch Queen responsible for unleashing the plague on Europe in the middle ages was ultimately defeated by a warrior name Kaulder (Vin Diesel). As she dies a fiery death she curses him with immortality forever separating him from his wife and daughter in the afterlife. The witches and the church are able to work out a compromise – the witches can live among humankind as long as they them alone.

Kaulder becomes the enforcer of this pact for a secret society connected with the Catholic Church called the Axe and Cross. His job is to hunt down and arrest any witches that break the pact. He is assisted by Dolan 36 (Michael Caine) who is grooming Dolan 37 (Elijah Wood) to take his place upon retirement.

The plot of this movie is pretty basic and with a couple of exceptions, quite predictable.  That said, there is a lot to like as well.  The effects, particularly those of the Witch Queen, are really pretty well done and help pull you into the story.  Vin Diesel does a great job of playing himself as a warrior and his voice and demeanor carry a sense of menace that sells his role.

Michael Caine is great as Dolan 36.  He is convincing in his wisdom as well as in his devotion to the Axe and Cross and to Kaulder.  Caine excels in the scenes where he interacts with Diesel.  They are natural foils to each other and although Kaulder is older by centuries you can buy Caine as the elder of the pair.

Rose Leslie plays Chloe, a young witch who gets drawn into Kaulder’s current job.  She is pretty and convincing as a frightened, but angry witch.  Chloe and Kaulder have chemistry and they are fun to watch together.

This isn’t a blockbuster and it isn’t going to win any awards, but it is a fun movie for those who like fast cars, a bit of suspense and mystery, pretty girls and heroes.  I give this a solid C+, the ending sets the movie up as a franchise and IMDb shows that Witch Hunter 2 is in production.  I’m not sure that this will catch on the way Fast and Furious did, but if you’re looking for something to do it’s not a bad way to spend time.  You do not necessarily have to see this movie on the big screen to appreciate the effects, but it helps.

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