“The Last Witch Hunter”
Vin Diesel, you really crave being a part of a film franchise. Listen Diesel, count yourself lucky. You have “The Fast and the Furious.” These movies have limped along on the same plot, big stunts and tight bodies for 15 years. You’ve got the dismal “Riddick” trilogy – a franchise built off of a few one-liners from a mysterious character in a B-movie, 16 years ago. You’re pulling down a check for one line of dialogue as a member of “The Guardians of the Galaxy.” Your future even holds plans for a sequel to your most miserable action outing, 2002’s “XXX.” There’s no need for this foray into hundreds of years of witches, and there’s no need to bring down other actors with you. Michael Caine, Elijah Wood and Rose Leslie (“Game of Thrones”) look like they’re not even trying, but Vin, you’re trying so hard – just let it go. You’re already a part of so much. Let this witch hunting be your last – pass.
I know what you’re thinking – why for the love of the Romantics are they making another Frankenstein movie? This one is a bit different. It’s told from Igor's perspective, and it’s more concerned with the relationship between Igor and a young Viktor Von Frankenstein. Daniel Radcliffe plays Igor and James McAvoy goes at Frankenstein full of gusto. Director Paul McGuigan delivers scenes filled with Victorian Period elegance, steam punk style and industrial age electricity, but it becomes more of a hodgepodge than a motif. It’s a smart script by Max Landis, son of director and American treasure John Landis. But just as Max Landis has done in the past with “Chronicle” and “American Ultra,” it feels like a retreaded story, and this fable has been told way too many times. It does get some life for quality acting and style points – barely worth a watch.
On a rare occasion, the setting or premise of a film can push it into good or great status. This isn’t one of those times. This movie is almost entirely set in a Japanese forest which causes its dwellers to commit suicide. Natalie Dormer (“Game of Thrones”) does a commendable job, taking on the dual roles of twins as she chases her missing sister through the woods and comes in contact with the supernatural. Debut feature-film director Jason Zada bounces around between a few jump scares and upping the creep factor. There’s just not enough content here to get lost in, and the actual forest never really becomes a menacing maze. By the time you make it out the other side, you realize, it’s just another mediocre horror movie – pass.