*NEW* THE LAST WITCH HUNTER REVIEW *NEW*

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Hopefully this will be the last.

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

I really wanted to like this. This had the perfect ingredients for a guilty pleasure. BUT all it did was leave me screaming like one of the tortured witches.

The opening was ridiculous. Come on, Vin Diesel with hair? Farfetched already. BUT it was watchable enough as Vin’s Kaulder and his band of miserable medieval men stake out a coven. Despite the frenetic violent sequence, it was too dark and disorienting to see who was doing what. I lost track of who was killing who? Heavy censorship to keep the 12A rating? Maybe.

It wasn’t long before our hero was cursed in the dying breath of a bizarre looking witch. Cursed with immortality. Flash forward to the present with ol’ baldy. Not sure what accent Diesel was trying to pull off BUT either way you couldn’t tell because he was so inaudible. His gruffest yet. He was far too serious for his own good. Laughable for all the wrong reasons.

Michael Caine’s priest was one of the better characters and he was barely in it! He quickly set up the back story about the truce between the witches and humans, cracked a couple of one liners and then sat this one out. His presence was sorely missed. Shame considering how well he worked with Diesel. They would have been a great duo and Vin seemed to lighten up with the old chap.

Instead we had Elijah Wood. Now, don’t get me wrong. I would have banked on Frodo to deliver the goods BUT his squeaky clean priest was too weak and annoying. BUT he didn’t come quite as close to irritating me as much as Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) did.

She tried to provide a much needed comic relief as Chloe the witch barmaid roped into Diesel’s chaotic world. BUT her voice grated against me and frankly did my nut in. I kept expecting her to say, “You know nothhhinggg”.

Julie Engelbrecht’s appropriately titled baddie Witch Queen was terrible. She may have looked the part with her messed up make up BUT she was far too bland and unmemorable to make a real impression.

I really hoped that this would have been like Constantine. That perfect balance of dark and crazy. BUT for the majority of the piece, I was bored. The pace dipped in and out. The story was weak. And even when the action kicked in, I had already lost interest.

That’s NOT to say it didn’t have its moments. BUT there weren’t a lot. A scene in which Diesel must get information from a witch at a fashion show allowed for a demented encounter in which the mirrors showed the models’ true reflections. I wanted more of that.

BUT even then the CGI tested Van Helsing levels. Incredible in one shot, cartoony and naff the next. There was a revelation 75 minutes into the movie which made the last 30 minutes a little more bearable.

Wood and Diesel’s partnership only got going in the final act. BUT even then the corny exchanges were too much. It was too generic, predictable, cliched and dull.

NOT Diesel’s worst BUT it wasn’t far off. I’m digging through my old DVDs for Constantine to erase the memory of this mess.

2/5

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR REVIEW

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I loved Sin City. It’s visceral hard boiled pulp story lines. The noir characters. The beautifully animated graphic underworld that literally lifts off the pages of Miller’s comic books. It was always going to be tough for a sequel. This time round, it’s a mixed bag. A violent, sexy one but mixed.

The animation is fantastic. The 3D? Well what 3D? Not an investment. (Yet again). The film launches you straight into the madness with an incredibly unhinged Marv going on yet another killing spree in the dark underbelly of Basin City. Rourke is brilliant but I couldn’t help but feel Marv’s irrational behaviour was ridiculous, bordering on overkill. His revenge spree in the first film had some warped justification. This time, not so much. I mean Marv is in a much more volatile state with blackouts and confusion galore. The littlest glance or grunt throwing him into a merciless rage.

Now I must advise you to watch the first movie. I hadn’t seen it in ages. And remember it has been NINE years. That’s right. Nine years since its release. This is very much a prequel/sequel of sorts. This will be made clear with Marv when a certain character appears. I was baffled and confused until I went back to the original. Scratching my head as to how he survived the electric . . . Oh wait. The same can be said for Dwight. Brolin takes over the helm from Clive Owen. Brolin’s drawl voice and grimacing face pulling are spot on. His delivery of Miller’s lines are sublime. A true noir actor. His storyline involving the dame to kill for (and I would kill for her) Eva Green reeked of the stories of old. The ultimate femme fatale. It may come off a little pastiche and predictable but it’s great to see a re-visiting of the classics.

Eva Green was born for the role. Conniving but attractive on the eye. Her beauty a trap for any foolish man. The reason why Dwight had to change his face. Miller seemed to cut the amount and reduce the length of story lines. There was two main stories with two little subplots (new stories for the movie) running along aside them. The new story lines involve Nancy (Alba) and Johnny (Joseph Gordon Levitt). JGL was to be expected charismatic and perfect for the part. He has proven that he can do the noir protagonist after Brick. He rolls off Miller’s lines like he was born in that world. He boosts the film and to be honest I wanted to see more of his story line.

However, for all it’s potential, it ends all rather abruptly. His speech at the poker table would be something that QT would love. A lesson in power if ever there was one but disappointing after such a suspenseful build up. But it is a typical noir ending as his cocky ambition gets the best of him as he takes on Rourke (Powers Boothe) in a game of poker.

Powers Boothe was deliciously sinister with his shark toothed grin, lapping up every moment of it. A perfectly cast villain, composing all his past bad guys role into one nasty piece of work. The one aspect of Sin City that I felt pushed this glossy colourful seedy crime saga over its ridiculously violent edge was the inhabitants of Old Town. Too much time spent on it in the first film. Miller must have realised this and only brings in Gail (Rosario Dawson) and samurai wielding assassin Miho (The alluring Jamie Chung now replacing Devon Aoki) to assist Dwight. And they are actually taken out of Old Town.

Dawson was less irritating this time round for me and Chung did as well as she could playing a silent killer. Of course, there was ridiculous sword play and white blood spread across the screen, along with various body parts. Dennis Haysbert was relentless as Manute (taking over the reins from the late Michael Clarke Duncan). He will always be David Palmer but it made a change to see him play the thug. It also made some of the references in the first film make so much more sense.

I never felt so dirty watching a film. Jessica Alba manages to outdo her infamous strip tease dance number. In fact, she delivers one every time one of the characters enters Kadie’s Club Pecos. To be honest, I wondered whether Nancy was only brought in to be the eye candy. Beautiful Miss Alba may be; I wanted to see some resolution following her story line after Hartigan’s sacrifice. Bruce Willis does make a return as Hartigan. It’s pretty clear from the trailers. But to what capacity? Well . . .  “POSSIBLE SPOILER” Don’t panic! He is very much dead. Even in death, you can’t escape Sin City.

The idea of Hartigan watching Nancy, seeing her deteriorate into a pool of grief and misery was a good angle. But at the same time, Willis does nothing else. He is merely a cameo that appears to say two little speeches and then bugger off. Might as well have not bothered turning up at all. It doesn’t help that for some reason in all it’s ridiculousness, he cannot talk to Nancy. But yet Benicio Del Toro’s Jackie could talk to Clive Owen’s Dwight? Strange. The switching back and forth from past to present did cause some confusion.

The cast were perfect, the animation always impressed me and the story lines were good but much more predictable. I felt that the film lacked something. I mean the characters were good but I wanted more of the memorable cult characters. The Yellow Bastard, Elijah Wood’s crazy cannibal Kevin, Rutger Hauer’s messed up priest. We only really got that in Stacey Keach’s Jabba-esque mob boss Wallenquist and Christopher Lloyd’s demented street doc Kroenig (Believe me, Doc Brown would be screaming more than Great Scott!). The pace lulled in parts for me. Story lines seemed to build up and end abruptly. However, I still want more and it was still very watchable.

Not as good as the first but still worth a go for fans and anyone with a little blood lust. 3.5/5 for me