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Shit Sand-witch: Diesel’s Out of Gas in The Last Witch Hunter

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02.22.SCREEN.lastwitchhunterI wasn’t expecting so many CG insects. The Last Witch Hunter is jam-packed with them—swarms of computer-drawn bugs, armies of pixelated creepy crawlies, plagues’ and pestilences’ worth of digital flies and beetles and ticks and moths. I finished watching Vin Diesel’s new fantasy action flick less than an hour ago, and all I can remember are the goddamn insects.

What I haven’t forgotten is the utter lack of joy in a movie that has this goofy a premise. Diesel plays Kaulder, a medieval fighter guy who becomes immortal when he kills a witch queen. Now Kaulder is an 800-year-old New Yorker, banging flight attendants whenever he’s not out fighting witches. He’s got a trusty but super-old deacon sidekick (Michael Caine), and whoops, sure enough, the deacon dies, and now Kaulder’s saddled with an inexperienced replacement (Elijah Wood) to help him track down any troublemakers who break the uneasy truce between humans and witches.

Look, they didn’t have to make a masterpiece. All they needed were some grotesque-looking witches, some noisy fighting, and probably a few glowy magic spells. And they needed just a little bit of fun—a quip here, an over-the-top special effect there, a jump scare when you aren’t expecting it. But The Last Witch Hunter doesn’t just plod, it crumples in front of you. Virtually every frame of the movie is confusing. None of the action makes a lick of sense. The dialogue is full of pointless exposition. The gloomily serious mood is outright hateful.

Turns out Michael Caine might not be quite dead, so Groot and Frodo go to a witch bar and meet Ygritte from Game of Thrones, and there’s a male witch with a bushy beard who’s got a wicked plan that’s not worth discussing. This entire movie is not worth discussing. Not even if you loooove CG bugs, and trust me, you don’t love them that much.


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