Running on Diesel fumes 

While a lot of Hollywood stars choose to unwind from the rigors of shooting their latest effects-heavy comic book/action/fantasy by seguing to a small-scale, modestly budgeted independent project, Vin Diesel looks to be in no hurry to step off the CGI treadmill.





But then why should he? He's probably well aware of his limitations so he's not losing sleep worrying about not working with Aaron Sorkin or if Kenneth Branagh is going to call offering him a part in his new Shakespeare adaptation. Hell, when you've got a billion dollar franchise, a warehouse full of cash and six trillion followers on Facebook and Twitter, you don't need Rosencrantz and Guildenstern pestering you to step outside your comfort zone.
But success and the riches of Croesus cannot always shield you from your worst excesses and Diesel's new film The Last Witch Hunter is a case in point.

With his Fast and Furious franchise approaching the kind of box office income that would probably dwarf the gross GDP of the entire continent of Africa, one could rightly forgive the man for presuming that he is, from a box office perspective, bulletproof. Sadly, his new film gives the lie to that assumption. Regurgitating every tired trope from every CGI-infested sword, sorcerey and witchcraft movie made during the last two decades, this is not the kind of picture which will compel Dominic Toretto's fans to storm their local multiplex.

Directed by Brett Eisner, with a screenplay cobbled together by Corey Goodman, Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, the film begins in what looks like the middle ages with a bewigged and mustachioed Diesel front and center as Kaulder, an intrepid bad-ass who scores big when he slays the all-powerful witch queen. In her death throes, however, the old hag manages to cast a spell over Kaulder effectively committing him to a life of immortality. Which doesn't sound so bad, actually. Jump to 2015 and the ever youthful, now fashionably bald Kaulder is minding his own business in his imposing New York apartment when nefarious dark forces from the past arrive to lure him into a conspiracy designed to resurrect the witch queen and take over the world. With a local good witch (the insufferable Rose Leslie) tagging along as his sidekick, Kaulder sets out to eliminate the ancient menace once and for all. 

Scenes that linger over burning corpses shedding their rotting skin amid fiery explosions are de rigueur for this type of film and there's certainly no shortage of them here. Of course, it's all in a day's work for Kaulder and he barely raises a sweat as he furiously slices and dices his way through the computer assisted mayhem with a demeanor of stoic aplomb entirely befitting a modern day action hero. A slumming Michael Caine gets to utter some embarrassing witchcraft gobbledygook but the paycheck was no doubt substantial. Dire.