This week's movie column is on the latest Vin Diesel vehicle, The Last Witch Hunter, and what makes a good genre movie. Here's how it opens:
The Last Witch Hunter has a lot of flaws: its plodding pace, its lazy direction, its muddled story, its hopelessly expository dialogue. But the most glaring flaw of all is even more basic than any of that: There's not nearly enough witch hunting.
The movie stars Vin Diesel as Kaulder, an immortal badass who for 800 years has enforced a truce between humans and witches at the behest of a shadowy group known as the Axe and Cross. But after the opening scene, in which Kaulder — elaborately bearded and clad in macho furry armor, like a Brooklyn bartender who joined the Night's Watch — leads a band of ancient warriors into a witch's den to kill off a witch queen, there's disappointingly little actual witch hunting.