Diesel ditches witches

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES -

THE LAST WITCH HUNTER (M)

Di­rec­tor: Breck Eis­ner (Sa­hara) Star­ring: Vin Diesel, Michael Caine, Eli­jah Wood, Julie En­gel­brecht, Rose Leslie. Ver­dict: Hell-rais­ing hag get Diesel fum­ing

THE mor­bidly obese box-of­fice re­turns gen­er­ated by the re­lent­lessly resur­gent Fast & Fu­ri­ous fran­chise have handed Vin Diesel a big fat golden ticket to go and make what­ever he likes.

So here comes a hefty chunk of some­thing Mr Diesel hopes you will like as well: a flat-out weird ac­tion­fan­tasy af­fair called The Last Witch Hunter.

This is the flam­boy­antly flaky story of Kaul­der, an 800-year-old slayer of evil crones who is cur­rently ply­ing his trade in the posher parts of New York City.

Diesel has the lead role, of course, and makes a goofily en­gag­ing fit for a char­ac­ter whose only defin­ing traits are an im­pos­si­bly deep voice and an

The Last Witch Hunter. im­pres­sively lengthy grudge against all things witch-like.

Don’t pay too much at­ten­tion to the back story ac­corded to its im­mor­tal hero. (Or the scenes where he ap­pears to have bor­rowed both a beard from Chew­bacca and a toupee from En­tourage’s Ari Gold.)

All you re­ally need to de­posit in the mem­ory banks re­gard­ing Kaul­der is that his beloved wife and their only child both passed away in the 13th cen­tury, and he has never been a happy camper since then.

It was also around about that time (the script is very skimpy when it comes to ad­e­quately flesh­ing out its flash­backs) that Kaul­der thought he had killed the dreaded Witch Queen (Julie En­gel­brecht) once and for all.

But guess what? She just might be on the brink of mak­ing a come­back, which could have dras­tic im­pli­ca­tions for Kaul­der’s cocky, I’mgonna-live-for­ever act.

For rea­sons best known to him­self, Diesel has framed The Last Witch Hunter as a loopy, logic-free trib­ute to his long-time love for the role-play­ing game Dun­geons and Dragons.

When viewed from this per­spec­tive, this mad – yet never quite mad­den­ing – ex­pe­ri­ence ac­tu­ally goes quite OK. Even when con­spic­u­ously fum­bling for a fi­nale that might leave ev­ery­one hang­ing out for a se­quel, which would be re­ally push­ing the friend­ship.

Be­ing a van­ity project for Diesel, di­rec­tor Breck Eis­ner is care­ful not to give co-stars such as Michael Caine and Eli­jah Wood (both play­ing pri­estly ad­vis­ers to a hero who isn’t re­ally much of a lis­tener) too much screen time.

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