After being cursed with immortality, Kaulder (Vin Diesel) is the last of the witch hunters who must make a stand against the evil witch queen for the sake of all humanity.
Yes, that is the premise of the movie. This is a live action D&D game. You have the hunter, the priest and the good witch fighting evil witches in underground caves and loads of cool weapons, including swords on fire (that's right, you get TWO flaming swords) and some good action. The movie has about 20 minutes that could, and maybe should, have been left on the editing floor, but the movie is highly enjoyable. You like Vin Diesel? He's the main star! You like Michael Caine? You have him with the quips and funny lines. You like Rose Leslie? She's there in all her stunning glory, but sadly no one thought to add in a "you know nothing"¦" line.
So here's the thing"¦ no one really "acts" in this movie. It felt like everyone was just having a good time fighting witches. This had to have been Vin Diesel's dream come true. The guy is very proud geek, and he gets to swing swords; for him, what's not to love. The guy looks like he's enjoying himself in this movie, and that kind of bleeds through to the audience. Rose Leslie plays Chloe, a witch who can enter your mind and also plays the "oh my God, how did they fit a love interest in here so quickly?!" love interest, and while there was that feel they were still able to play it off in a fun way. And Michael Caine is Michael Caine. He could read you a menu and you will still leave the restaurant thinking "man, everything sounds so delightful." He just has that way about him.
I will give it to Breck Eisner. He did create some beautiful scenery and really captured New York City in some beautiful lights, but sometimes less is more, and the story seemed to drag a bit. Especially when it comes to Kaulder's past. We keep revisiting that past one too many times, and it seems like old-hat by the end of the movie. Also, while we keep getting told about how "big and bad" the witch queen is, she released the Bubonic Plague, we never actually get to see her in action. It was mainly Kaulder fighting shadows. For a guy swinging a sword that was literally on fire, I wanted more clashing then what we got. Besides that, the only other let down, story-wise, was the fact that you can tell who the bad guys are from the very beginning of the movie. I could hear people in the audience go "ohh, I called that. Didn't I? See? I told you." It was kind of a formulaic film that succeeds only as far as the actors in the movie take it, which is actually quite far. I will say that the writers did a great job of foreshadowing. Everything that was mentioned early on in the film gets brought back at the end. There wasn't one time where I asked why bring something up only to drop it. So kudos on that.
Here's the trick I like to use when I write these reviews. I see these for free (shocker, I know), but I've seen movies where I just cannot get my time or my life back and others where they should win an Oscar right then and there. This movie falls right in between those two standards. It's not going to win any awards, but damn if it wasn't enjoyable from (almost) beginning to end. It's a fun movie that you can go to if you like the whole witch-hunter thing or if you have kids and you want to take them to something that isn't too scary and isn't too violent. Go in with the expectation to have fun and nothing more.