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Breck Eisner
Vin Diesel, Michael Caine, Elijah Wood, Rose Leslie, Julie Engelbrecht
Writing Credits:
Cory Goodman, Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless

Live Forever - Hunt Forever

The last witch hunter is all that stands between humanity and the combined forces of the most horrifying witches in history.

Box Office:
$90 million.
Opening Weekend
$10,812,861 on 3,082 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-X
English DTS 2.0
Spanish DTS 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
English DTS Headphone X
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 2/2/2016

• Audio Commentary with Director Breck Eisner
• 2 Deleted Scenes
• “Crafting the Magic” Featurette
• 2 Animated Short Films
• “Sizzle Reel”
• Previews
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


The Last Witch Hunter [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 3, 2016)

Going into 2015’s The Last Witch Hunter, I couldn’t help but feel some sense of déjà vu. Would this film differ from 2013’s Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, a less than enthralling effort with a similar theme?

Despite those seeming similarities, I hoped Last Witch Hunter would achieve its own identity. We meet Kaulder (Vin Diesel), an immortal who devotes his existence to the eradication of witches.

Eventually he becomes the last of this kind, and in the 21st century, Kaulder finds himself with a greater than usual challenge. Although he killed the Witch Queen (Julie Engelbrecht) centuries earlier, she becomes resurrected and plans to fulfill her desires to eradicate humans.

Director Breck Eisner doesn’t create many movies, but when he does, he makes little impact. Prior to Hunter, we last saw Eisner via his lackluster 2010 remake of The Crazies, and in 2005, he led Sahara, a forgettable adventure flick.

I’d like to report that Eisner alters that trajectory of mediocrity, but unfortunately, Hunter offers another flawed effort. It may be the worst of the three films under discussion, as it presents a muddled, dull attempt at action/fantasy.

That’s partially because Hunter never does action or fantasy well. From the very start, the film’s battles seem sluggish and lackluster, without any real vivacity or excitement on display. The opening witch fight looks so clunky it almost feels like slow-motion, and subsequent set pieces fail to become any more dynamic or engaging.

A movie about witches really should manage some form of magic, but Hunter achieves none. There’s just no sense of the otherworldly, as instead of creative viewpoints, we just get a lot of bad CG creations.

In addition to Diesel, we get a cast with Michael Caine and Elijah Wood, none of whom manage to elevate the material. Caine looks completely bored, and Wood seems… well, wooden, as he fails to bring any personality to his part.

Diesel doesn’t do much better. He can offer nice work, though he seems to fare best with voiceover roles as in Iron Giant or Guardians of the Galaxy.

Diesel also seems fine as the brawny, one-dimensional Dom from the Fast and Furious flicks, but when asked to display a broader personality, he flops. As Kaulder, Diesel shows virtually no investment in the part, as he gives us an oddly glib, superficial take on a character who should seem dark and haunted.

Hunter manages to take a simple story and make it convoluted. There’s really not much to the narrative, but the filmmakers muddy the waters in a way that makes the end result confused and rambling. That’s not a recipe for cinematic success.

Somewhere in this mess, there might be an interesting movie, but The Last Witch Hunter isn’t that movie. Instead, it brings us a dull, sluggish affair without a hint of magic or excitement.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus C+

The Last Witch Hunter appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though not an eye-popping presentation, the transfer served the material well.

Sharpness looked good. A smidgen of softness hit some wider shots, but those instances remained quite insubstantial, so the majority of the flick showed fine clarity and accuracy. Jaggies and shimmering failed to distract, and edge haloes remained absent. The movie also lacked any source flaws and was consistently clean.

In terms of colors, Hunter went with stylized tones, as the movie tended toward teal or an orange. The hues never stood out as memorable, but they weren’t supposed to be impressive, so they were fine for this story’s stripped palette. Blacks were pretty deep, and shadows were well-depicted. The image offered a solid “B+” presentation.

Hunter came with a newfangled DTS-X soundtrack, one that downconverted to DTS-HD MA 7.1 for those of us without systems equipped for DTS-X playback. The audio added pizzazz to the proceedings, especially in terms of its action scenes. Those offered a variety of battle and magic elements to flesh out the material.

Even without the more dynamic sequences, the mix created a good soundscape. Environmental elements popped up around the room in a logical manner, and information meshed together well. Music showed nice stereo presence and the whole package managed to deliver a fine surround package.

Audio quality seemed fine. Speech was distinctive and concise, while music showed full, lively tones. Effects appeared accurate and vivid, with good low-end response as necessary. This became a strong soundtrack.

As we go to the disc’s extras, we get an audio commentary from director Breck Eisner. He delivers a running, screen-specific look at character and visual design, sets and locations, cast and performances, story/character areas, music, effects, and connected domains.

I may not think much of his movie, but Eisner provides a very good commentary. He covers a nice array of subjects and does so with a minimum of “happy talk”. All that adds up to an informative and engaging discussion.

Two Deleted Scenes appear. We find “Fear Potion” (3:48) and “Ellic’s House” (1:53). “Fear” adds a little to Chloe’s introduction, while “House” gives us more related to one of the movie’s baddies. Both act more as extended scenes than deleted ones, and neither brings much of interest.

A featurette called Crafting the Magic runs 30 minutes, 20 seconds and provides info from Eisner, producers Mark Canton and. Bernie Goldmann, makeup and special makeup effects designer Justin Raleigh, production designer Julie Berghoff, special effects coordinator Peter Chesney Sr., costume designer Luca Mosca, senior visual effects supervisor Nicholas Brooks, and actors Vin Diesel, Olafu Darri Olafsson, Michael Caine, Joseph Gilgun, Rose Leslie, Julie Engelbrecht and Elijah Wood.

We get notes about cast/performances, characters and story, visual/creature design, sets and production design, costumes, and effects. The first half of “Magic” tends toward fluff, most of which praises Diesel, but the second half seems meatier and helps redeem the program.

Four animated short films come next. We see “Before Mankind” (2:43), “The Witch Lords” (2:18), “The Witch Hunter” (2:44) and “Witches Live Amongst Us” (2:06). These give us a little background for some of the characters and situations seen in the film. They provide decent exposition.

Finally, a Sizzle Reel goes for one minute, 36 seconds. It shows movie clips along with the cover of “Paint It Black” that runs over the film’s end credits. It feels like a glorified music video- and not an especially interesting one.

The disc opens with ads for Sicario, God of Egypt, John Wick, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and Extraction. No trailer for Hunter appears here.

A second disc brings us a DVD copy of Last Witch Hunter. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Perhaps a more talented filmmaker could’ve made something interesting out of The Last Witch Hunter, but director Breck Eisner lacks the skills to accomplish that feat. Instead, he creates a slow, plodding flick without any excitement or drama. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio as well as supplements highlighted by an enjoyable commentary. Maybe diehard Vin Diesel fans will enjoy Hunter, but the movie seems like a dud to me.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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