Director: Breck Eisner
Cast: Vin Diesel, Elijah Wood, Rose Leslie
Release Date: Now Available on Blu-ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Kaulder is an immortal witch hunter who has spent centuries tracking down those who practice evil magic. When history’s deadliest witches resurrect their bloodthirsty Queen Witch, Kaulder becomes humanity’s last hope as he clashes with the supernatural in an epic battle for the ages.
‘The Last Witch Hunter’ follows the immortal Kaulder (Diesel) who after being cursed with eternal life centuries ago has made it his mission to spend his days hunting the witches and warlocks who practice dark magic and assisting in maintaining the fragile peace. When his long-time assistant and friend is killed the same day of his retirement, Kaulder joins forces with his replacement and a reluctant witch who just happened to get caught in the crossfire to uncover the truth as to why his friend was killed. As past and current secrets alike are revealed Kaulder begins to realize that the battle which looms ahead could be more apocalyptic than he had ever imagined.
Directed by Breck Eisner (‘The Crazies’ 2010 version) from a script written by Cory Goodman (Priest) along with Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless (Dracula Untold and Gods of Egypt), Eisner does a solid job at the helm of ‘The Last Witch Hunter’, sending it speeding it along with a fun and action-packed consistency that perfectly suits it. The cast includes a number of well known (and in a many cases also incredibly talented) individuals including Vin Diesel, Elijah Wood, Rose Leslie and Michael Caine among others, each of which deliver capable and fitting performances in each of their respective roles.
‘The Last Witch Hunter’ is a fun, action-packed ride with Vin Diesel perfectly placed in the lead role and doing what he often does best. Director Breck Eisner doesn’t make the mistake of trying to approach the material in an overly serious manner, instead making the wise decision to keep things more lighthearted and fun, yet without falling into the realm of silliness. It follows a somewhat original and interesting premise without delving too deeply into its roots and brings more than enough action and spectacular effects to the table to satisfy the masses. While some of the twists and turns that occur throughout are at times almost ridiculously obvious, it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment and this is certainly a fun popcorn flick.
Overall, ‘The Last Witch Hunter’ certainly isn’t going to be acquiring any award chatter, but it delivers wonderfully as a simplistic, action-packed and enjoyable ride. Boosted by a perfectly suited cast and a simple yet interesting premise, it wisely never attempts to be something it’s not. While some may be hesitant to make a blind purchase, I would definitely recommend that (at least) the action and horror fans give this one a whirl, if you go in expecting nothing more than a good time, you will quite likely be pleased you decided to check it out.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Last Witch Hunter’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic for the most part; there are some brief occurrences of banding noticeable on a few occasions such as within the surroundings of flames, although nothing that will detract from the overall viewing experience in any way. It holds up admirably even during the numerous darkly lit and fast moving sequences, never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a more than competent high definition video presentation that should generally please most folks.
The Blu-ray release features a DTS: X (DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds fantastic and provides a smooth, sharp and hard hitting presentation, frequently utilizing all seven available channels to surround the viewer with a barrage of action effects including debris from walls crumbling, bullets and magic elements zooming past in any given direction as well as the bass thundering as shotgun blasts reverberate and enormous footsteps storm about; yet never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is an impressive DTS: X (DTS-HD MA 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that contributes notably to the overall fun of this enjoyable and action-packed ride.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Last Witch Hunter’ includes a number of enjoyable extras. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Breck Eisner’, in addition to a behind the scenes Featurette titled ‘Crafting the Magic: The Last Witch Hunter’ (running approximately 30 minutes in length) which features behind the scenes footage and interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew. We are also treated to a couple of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film (approximately 6 minutes combined), ‘The Last Witch Hunter Sizzle Reel/ Pain It, Black’ (2 minutes), and ‘Animated Short Films – The Origins of the Axe and Cross’ which includes 2 animated shorts: ‘Before Mankind’ (3 minutes) and ‘The Witch Lords’ (2 minutes).