Vin Diesel looks good for an 800 year-old-man… er… immortal witch hunter. He’s Kaulder, a former mortal whose family was wiped out by the Witch Queen’s (Julie Engelbrecht) deadly black plague. The only way to destroy her is to still her beating heart, but before he can do so she places a hex on him. With all his family gone he has nothing to live for, so she curses him with immortality.
Centuries later he’s a supernatural superman, living in a swank Central Park South apartment and bedding flight attendants when he’s not subduing bad witches. Known as “the Weapon,” he works with a Dolan—a spiritual advisor—and helps enforce the uneasy truce that has been struck between witches and humans. When Dolan 36 (Michael Caine) steps down and winds up dead within twenty-four hours (“I’ve seen people get old, retire and die but rarely on the same day,” Kaulder says.) the hunter knows evil forces are at work. With the aid of Dolan 37 (Elijah Wood) and an unlikely witch ally (“Game of Thrones” star Rose Leslie) Kaulder seeks to finally put an end to an ancient evil.
“You know what I’m afraid of?” asks Kaulder. “Nothing. It’s boring really.” And so is “The Last Witch Hunter” because nothing remotely scary happens. It’s as though the film was originally written as a straight ahead action movie. Here’s the pitch: Gravelly-voiced man fights the baddies with the help of an aging mentor and a sidekick. It’s the generic hero’s journey. It’s “The Dark Knight” without the cape (but with Michael Caine). It feels like someone read the script early on and said, “You know what would make this great? Witches and Vin Diesel,” but even the addition of supernatural elements like Dreamwalkers, cranky witches and immortality can’t disguise the fact that this is as generic an action movie as we’ve seen this year.
It follows a familiar pattern: Action scene followed by witch hunting mumbo jumbo that segues into a fight scene. Reset with a buddy, buddy scene featuring dialogue like, “You’re not qualified for what happens next.” Add to the mix flashbacks, light romance and loud special effects and you have every generic action movie ever made… with witches.
Diesel is fast and furious enough to deliver the “Conan the Barbarian” level dialogue (like: “The benefit of eternal life is that I get to kill you twice!”) with conviction but the movie is dull enough you’ll wish these witches would go away for a spell.