For those who do not know, a good-bad movie is a movie that was made with good intentions, but fails utterly. The failure is what makes it hilarious. The Room, Samurai Cop, Miami Connection, and Twilight are awful, but it is because they are so terrible they are fantastic with bad acting, effects, and even worse story. I laugh harder watching those films than actual comedies.
Another side of the coin is movies that are not necessarily bad, but we watch them on the basis of ironic fun. When compared to ones of higher quality, Underworld, Resident Evil, and Fast and Furious do not hold up, but they are fun regardless. Vin Diesel is a cool enough person he is proud to have built his entire career on ironic movies. He has the right charisma and iconic distinction that he has rose to heights on par with Schwarzenegger and Stallone. Is The Last Witch Hunter another signature Diesel film or something different?
After the death of a friend, Kaulder, played by Diesel, searches for the truth behind the suspicious circumstances of his passing. It is not long before he discovers it was the work of an ancient power that threatens humanity and Kaulder is put to the greatest test of his immortal life.
Witch Hunter knows what it is. It knows it is cheesy and unoriginal in the vast sea of religious-fantasy. Preacher, Spawn, Prophecy, and Witchblade pretty much started and ended the genre as fast as it arrived. Some of the titles were good like Evangelion, but it did not take long for the genre to play itself out like an assisted suicide. The dark tone, trench coats, predictable references, and tired realistic reinterpretations (looking at you, Constantine) proved too obvious and boring to hold anyone’s attention. And do not get me started on Charmed. Witch Hunter is a love letter to the genre and wears its banality on its sleeve. It does not care what you think or what you have to say.
The problem that keeps Witch Hunter from even qualifying for good-bad status is how serious it is. It is so fixated on its premise it does not try to have fun nor does it possess any sense of self-awareness. The movie is serious to the point it keeps its actors from having fun. Diesel usually has charisma, but you get nothing here. It felt like Rose Lesile as Chloe was being pushed from scene to scene with no time to really do anything with her character. Michael Caine as Dolan 36th seemed to know what kind of movie he was in, but had little more than five minutes of total screen time. Elijah Wood was also present, but not enough to bother talking about.
There is nothing unintentionally funny, bad acting, awkward special effects, or inconsistencies in the plot. It is a plainly made movie that had everything going for it in the exact way it wanted. The beginning was nice with Diesel in a comical wig and beard before it transitions into the dull monotony of the rest. I sat in my seat with a neutral expression, watching what was happening with about as much excitement as a Catholic mass. Nothing made me mad, nothing made me think, but worst of all nothing made me laugh. At least it was not as boring or stole from good movies like Hitman: Agent 47. It was not that terrible
If you are into the religious-fantasy genre, you will find a lot to like in The Last Witch Hunter. It has witches, shadow organizations, potions, spells, and supernatural hangouts that fans will find comforting. But if you are expecting the entertaining schlock readily associated with Vin Diesel, look somewhere else. All three Riddick movies are still awesome and Babylon AD is very underrated.