The Last Witch Hunter
The last time we saw Vin Diesel on the big screen, he was driving a Lykan Hypersport through the windows of one of Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Towers skyscrapers for the hugely entertaining Fast & Furious 7.
His latest incarnation couldn’t be more different, playing an immortal witch-hunter who must stop a plague from ravaging New York in a supernatural/fantasty/action film. It’s directed by Breck Eisner, which didn’t bode well as he’s the man who was at the helm of the disastrous movie Sahara, considered one of the biggest financial failures in Hollywood history.
Luckily, the same fate doesn’t befall The Last Witch Hunter, which, if you suspend disbelief for a couple of hours, is an enjoyable way to pass the time.
One of the secrets of today’s world, apparently, is that witches still live among us. Who knew? 800 years ago, Kaulder (Diesel) managed to slay the all-powerful Witch Queen. But before her death, she cursed the brave warrior with her own immortality, thus separating him from his wife and daughter.
Now her supporters want revenge and plan to unleash a modern-day Black Plague to wipe out the human race. The only thing standing in their way is Vin Diesel. Will he defeat them? What do you think?
Veteran actor Michael Caine makes an appearance, as does Elijah Wood, while Diesel’s sidekick in witch hunting is a good witch named Chloe (Game of Thrones’ Rose Leslie).
The action scenes are fun and Vin Diesel gives it his all, wielding a flaming long sword. Settle back with a box of popcorn, ignore the naff dialogue and slightly dodgy visuals at times and just enjoy.
Soldiers of the Damned
Another horror thriller released to cash in on Halloween, but at the low budget end compared to Diesel’s offering. Set on the Eastern Front towards the end of World War Two, Major Kurt Fleischer (Gil Darnell), a war-weary commander of an elite troop of German soldiers, is ordered to escort a female scientist (Mariam Cooke) into a mysterious forest beyond enemy lines. There’s a reasonable attempt to hike up the tension, but by the time the zombie immortals hit the screen, you might not care.
Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
Said to be the film that will wrap up the Paranormal series, this sixth outing serves up pretty much the same horror fare. Set in December 2013, a new family, the Fleeges, are spending their first Christmas in the childhood home of the Featherston sisters (from the original film and sequel). Dad Ryan (Chris J Murray) discovers a VHS camcorder in storage and a bunch of tapes. What follows is formulaic, only this time, the special camera can see the spirits, as the family’s daughter Leila (Ivy George) is the object of an evil entity’s attention. Fans will love it, but there’s nothing new. After four movies and a spin-off, this should be the end of Paranormal Activity. Or is it?
Former Hollywood heartthrob Mickey Rourke (who is almost unrecognisable from his heyday) puts in his strongest performance since The Wrestler in this comedy-drama, Rourke plays retired CIA assassin, Ashby Holt. With only a few months left to live, he strikes up a friendship with lonely high school student Ed Wallis (Nat Wolff) next door, who is in need of some paternal guidance and Holt’s brand of tough love. Emma Roberts shines as Eloise, the quirky girl at school.
With the sweet storyline of a romance that blossoms as the families of two east Indian business dynasties prepare for a merger, a big budget and lavish settings, you should have a huge hit on your hands. Sadly Vikas Bahl’s new film is more of a miss, with reviews saying it fails to match up to the fabulous Queen. Bahl also had a hand in writing this – it’s been slammed as being sloppily written – but it’s not all bad. The two leads, Alia Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor, are gorgeous, showcasing some great dance moves, and do their best as two insomniacs who are made for each other, even though one has been employed as a wedding planner for the other’s nuptials.