The Last Witch Hunter tells the story of Kaulder, an immortal who hunts witches for centuries. Straight from the first act, the movie tries to jam as many expositions as possible while panning through myriad of hidden exotic locations practically every five minutes. It feels like a rushed tour of New York and none of CGI view made lasting impression.
This is a missed opportunity since the occult version of modern city is teeming with potential. Other movies, even comic books and video games have used this premise to captivate audience effectively. The screenplay could’ve showcased the mythology with calm pace and imaginative scenery, yet the movie abruptly shifts between uninspiring random clubs, which makes the entire environment seems generic.
It doesn’t have to be Hellboy 2 level of sophistication, but the lore available feels terribly underutilized. Visual is mostly crafted with CG, and the action is mediocre with crude choreography. Underneath the cosmetic spells, the production value feels simply average, far too similar to Constantine from last decade.
This rushed pace is also translated to the characters, which appear like random strangers meshed together and suddenly given strange development. This is not on Vin Diesel alone, the movie has good acting prowess with Elijah Wood and Michael Caine, among others, however the characters are nothing more than stereotypical eccentric magicians or familiar villain. At some points it even looks like some cop procedural series with awkward buddy gimmick.
Lastly, Vin Diesel himself isn’t that convincing even though he’s groomed for superhero epic. In fact, he fared much better as Riddick, at least he had an identity as the stealthy assassin. While as Kaulder he’s just another grunting protagonist despite the presentable physique or the grand attire.
The Last Witch Hunter is a fantasy foray filled with shallow parlor tricks and incompatible hero in Vin Diesel. It had potential to be spectacular, but the shoddy presentation only offers pedestrian exhibition.