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Forgettable 'Last Witch Hunter' arrives without thrills or chills
Kaulder (Vin Diesel) and Chloe (Rose Leslie) in The Last Witch Hunter - photo by Josh Terry
Vin Diesel may be immortal in The Last Witch Hunter, but his movie lacks a soul. The IMDB page for The Last Witch Hunter advertises the combined forces of the most horrifying witches in history.

This is a painful overstatement.

Its not that the idea was bad. Diesel plays Kaulder, an 800-year-old witch hunter who enjoys a posh pad in Manhattan. Ever since a 13th century tousle with an evil Witch Queen, which plays out in a helpful prologue, Kaulder has been keeping the witch and warlock community in check. Hes kind of a Man in Black for the Harry Potter crowd.

Over the centuries, Kaulder has outlived a number of right-hand men, dubbed Dolans, the most recent of which is Dolan 36th (Michael Caine). We are constantly reminded that Diesels character is older than Caines because Kaulder insists on calling him kid.

As Last Witch Hunter gets up and moving, Dolan 36th is getting ready for retirement and preparing to pass his torch to a young priest played by Elijah Wood. But a mysterious attack leaves Dolan 36th on the verge of death, and Kaulder soon learns that a group of local witches is trying to bring the 13th century Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht in heavy makeup) back to life.

With the help of a good witch named Chloe (Rose Leslie), Kaulder sets out to bring the bad witches to justice before they can follow through on their plans. The key to doing so is accessing some long-forgotten memories from Kaulders past.

Its a decent idea that falls short in execution. The Men in Black reference is actually an apt comparison. That series delighted in its zaniness, and the prospect of an immortal Diesel hunting witches in modern-day New York could be a lot of fun.

Instead, aside from some dry quips and some interesting facial hair for the leads flashbacks, director Breck Eisner keeps things serious, and the result is about as bland as Diesels detached performance.

A lead with more natural charisma might have carried this film (think of Dwayne The Rock Johnson in last summers San Andreas), but The Last Witch Hunter serves as a reminder that Diesels best fit is still as an ensemble piece in that wacky crew of street racing international superthieves. No one else in the movie moves the emotional needle either, and by the end of the film you are basically just watching things happen until the closing credits let you off the hook.

Last Witch Hunter is definitely trying in the CGI department, though. Various scenes throughout the film are effective enough to strain against the movies B-movie feel, though without a strong story and cast to back them up, they begin to feel like lipstick on an immortal, sword-wielding pig.

Unfortunately, The Last Witch Hunter isnt really scary or exciting or engaging. Its not quite bad, but it isnt good either. At best, its backup option, a dollar-theater flick on a night with tempered expectations.

The Last Witch Hunter is rated PG-13 for CGI-stylized violence and mayhem, as well as gore and some profanity.