Basically I have to review this film because it really surprised me with how much I enjoyed it! I was worried it would be just another mindless action movie, and, focusing on a male hunter hunting women at its heart, perhaps a bit misogynistic (or somehow condoning of the gynocide of women both in the past and/or present. I’m thinking of the Salem Witch Trials here- something I touch on in my novels, and speak of on my YouTube channel here.) It did have a few of these anti-women moments- my feminist radar was sent buzzing by the fight scenes between Vin Diesel and the tree-root-covered, mud-covered nameless Witch Queen. (Vin Diesel was armed with fire and a flaming sword. Witch Queen…well, she had a lot of tree roots and mud.)
However, it had good support from Rose Leslie- otherwise known as Ygritte from Game of Thrones- as Chloe, a wisecracking witch with a NY studio apartment to DIE FOR, and awesome style. (I spent half the film lusting over her amazing leather boots and jacket combo.) It also had a surprisingly stellar cast-Michael Caine and a criminally underused Elijah Wood. (I could have done with more scenes from him and his spooky blue elfen eyes.) Moments and set pieces were also good- particularly a scene set in the hip ‘witch bar’ where Chloe worked, and another where a blind warlock was able to control a swarm of beautifully iridescent butterflies with just a swish of his hand. Other moments I feel needed work- Vin Diesel (as Kaulder, the witch hunter) had a shaky back story- we never found out why his beloved wife and daughter died- whilst the Witch Queen had none at all. (We didn’t even get her name, or why/how she’d even become a Witch Queen, which seemed just a mite important, when you think about it.) And whilst the special effects were at points mesmerizingly good, the Witch Queen’s much-heralded ‘plague tree’ of death and destruction felt a bit…blah. All in all though, a very good, enjoyable film (I must admit, the flaming sword was cool- I just wished it hadn’t been pointed at a woman) and overall I feel this didn’t warrant the barrage of negative reviews that have been plastered over the Internet. Fingers crossed for another loveably messy, enjoyable sequel.
Overall rating- 8 out of 10.