Tag Archives: Vin Diesel

The Last Witch Hunter: Movie Review

Halloween is upon us and the streets are ripe with creepy! Haunted houses, decorated front lawns, horror movie marathons, and of course scary movies! While Witch Hunter isn’t a horror film, it is a nice creepy action adventure movie.

I didn’t know a thing about Witch Hunter beforehand aside from “Oh man, this movie looks sick and has Vin Diesel in it! I want to see this!”  And basically, that sums up the movie. It’s a sick movie, and his has Vin Diesel in it.

Imagine Chronicles of Riddick, but set on earth, and with witches instead of alien necromancers, and you’re essentially got yourself The Last Witch Hunter. As unoriginal as the movie was, I still found it highly entertaining. If there is one thing Vin Diesel has always been able to do, it’s draw large audiences and I have no doubt that while this movie will not break any records, it will be successful enough to earn a sequel or two.

The movie starts centuries ago just after the black plague has swept through Europe. In the film, the plague is known to be caused by witches performing dark magic, who are trying to kill the human population an establish witch dominion over the earth. Kaulder (Diesel), and a group of soldiers head out to stop the witches before they can complete their plan of human extinction, and so so successfully. Hence you are sitting here reading this on your iPhone, you lucky bastard.

Just before Kaulder kills off the head witch, he is cursed with immortality. Over the centuries Kaulder uses this immortality (and relative invulnerability) to continue fighting, capturing or killing those who practice dark magic, which leads us to current day. 700 years have battle hardened Kaulder into a fighting machine, and his reputation proceeds him in religious and mystic circles, where he is known simply as the weapon.

Long story short, all is not well in the land, and an ancient evil has been awakened that threatens the existence of man kind, blah blah, blah, the hero comes in to the save the day and rescue the damsel in distress with the help of his butler Alfred Pennyworth, I mean Dolan, played by Michael Caine.

Like I said, the movie is intriguing but definitely not original. Nonetheless I found it very interesting. There were a lot of mentions about things like new vs. old, change vs. traditional, progressive vs. nostalgic; the usual plot devices in a story featuring  a centuries old immortal.

Vin Diesel brings his usual performance to the screen. His voice pretty much does all the acting for him. And when that falters, his machismo, athleticism, and steady hand pick up the slack.

Michael Caine pretty much plays a priest version of Alfred. Again, his usual “I feel better that a cool old wise dude is here” performance.

Elijah Wood plays Caine’s successor as Dolan 37th, and also brings his usual, pint sized, timid persona.

Lastly, we have Rose Leslie, who you might best know as the hot red head from Game of Thrones who got it on with John Snow. Her role is the most different from the one you know her best from. She doesn’t play a bad ass wildling, but she does play a determined bar owner Wiccan who really ought to invest in commercial fire insurance.  Just saying…

The movie very craft-fully took the things you like most about other movies and hodge-podged them all into a single film. Plus, it has Vin Diesel. What’s not to like?

All in all, I give Witch Hunter a D for originality, a B+ for entertainment value, and a B+ for acting.

Guradians of the Galaxy: Movie Review

Guardians was one of my most anticipated movies EVER, so it goes without saying that this has also been one of my most anticipated movie reviews. The drive home after the movies on Friday night had me all amped and excited, as I endlessly regaled my favorite quotes and characters from the film.

It’s important that I start my review by making something very clear, Guardians of the Galaxy absolutely kicked ass. Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. But seriously, it was an amazing movie and so entertaining I don’t even know where to begin my review.

Marvel wasted no time at all jumping into the movie. There was a super brief yet emotional “origin story” at the beginning where you get a little history about movie front runner Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord. After that the movie is a non-stop sprint to the finish line.

10 minutes into the movie I was sold. The opening scene from the trailers with Chris Pratt and Djimon Hounsou was hilarious, action packed, an 80’s flash back, and probably had PETA shitting bricks.

Marvel managed to do in one film with Guardians, what it took them 6 movies to do with the Avengers ensemble. Guardians Director James Gunn did a phenomenal job getting audiences to fall in love with and root for a bunch of characters they had never even heard of before, in the span of just two hours without it feeling rushed.

Whereas 2012’s Avengers could have plausibly been titled “IRON MAN! …and his friends too”, Guardians does a much better job balancing the roles so that no character drowns out the other.

Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord
Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord, played by Chris Pratt

We have Peter Quill, AKA Star Lord. An 80’s American born kid who was abducted by aliens and spends the rest of his life wandering the galaxy as a thief. His only remaining earthly possessions are a Sony Walkman (remember those?) and a mix tape (or those?!) of songs his mom made him. Those songs, artfully chosen, provide the soundtrack for the entire movie. Quill clearly mastered the American art of bull-shitting, which proves to be an invaluable skillset in outer space. Chris Pratt did an amazing job bringing this no-name character to life on the big screen. In fact he did such a good job that he out Iron Man’s Iron Man, and when the Avengers and Guardians finally collide in theaters, Peter Quill is going to be more than a match for Tony Stark. Audiences will find him much more likable too as his character is so humble and down-to-earth.

Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana
Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana

Next we have the femme fatale Gamora. Zoe Saldana loves to play aqua-colored vixens, but she plays them amazingly well! Gamora is an assassin turned good, whose inside knowledge of the threats to the universe make her a pivotal character in movie. Her backstory is bloody and regrettable. She is fierce, cunning, beautiful, and incredibly lethal. She is this ensembles direct response to Black Widow.

Drax the Destroyer, played by David Bautista
Drax the Destroyer, played by David Bautista

Then we have Drax the Destroyer, another aqua colored badass in the film and played by David Bautista. This physically intimidating character is on a vengeful killing rampage across the galaxy after his family was killed by movie villain Ronan the Accuser. He comes from a race of aliens whose language and communication style does not lend itself to metaphor, idioms, or innuendo. Most jokes go right over his head, but as Drax would correct you “Nothing goes over my head! My reflexes are too fast. I will seize it.” Huge, green-ish, and not a big talker, Drax is the Guardian’s equivalent of the Hulk.

Rocket Raccoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper, and Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel
Rocket Raccoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper, and Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel

Where do I even start with Rocket? Put frankly, Rocket is foul-mouthed, bi-pedal, incredibly intelligent raccoon that has no clue he’s a raccoon, or for that matter what a raccoon even is. He was experimented on and genetically altered, making him the way he is. Perfectly voiced by Bradley Cooper, he’s rude, insensitive, and had me dying of laughter the entire movie. His backstory is also very tragic, making that a common theme amongst the movies characters. Underneath his insecurities, Rocket the bounty hunting critter has a ton of heart, and is my favorite character in the movie.

Lastly, we have Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel. Groot, the walking and occasionally talking tree alien was one of my favorites. He is Rocket’s body guard and companion as a bounty hunter. Despite his very limited vocabulary, Groot proves that when it comes to communication, it’s all about quality, not quantity. If you asked me to explain exactly why Groot is so cool and invaluable to the movie, I couldn’t give you an answer. But I promise you he is. (My mom asserts it’s because Groot’s limited vocabulary reminds me of my dad. Hardy har har, mom.) Groot isn’t chatty, fast, or oozing with intelligence, but he is emotional, caring, and extremely protective. Groot is also the dessert of the movie, and Marvel saved the best for last. You’ll have to see the movie to know what I’m talking about.

I was laughing, I was cheering, I was screaming, and I was clapping. The crowd in my theater clapped on four occasions throughout the movie. If this movie doesn’t have you rooting for the good guys, you have no heart. If it doesn’t have you dancing to the Jackson 5, you have no soul. And if it doesn’t have you cramping from laughter, you have no sense of humor. Bring the wife, bring the kids, and hope they don’t learn any new words. This action packed, star spanning movie breathes new life into the Marvel Cinematic Universe and will have you begging for more. Avengers, look out! Here come the Guardians of the Galaxy!

Was it enjoyable? YES! I’ll just come out and say that Guardians of the Galaxy was twice as good as the Avengers. It had more action that action movies, more adventure than adventure movies, and way more laughs than dedicated comedies. On top of that, the movie had one thing Avengers sorely lacked: Heart. For enjoyability, I give Guardians of the Galaxy an A+.

Did it deliver what it advertised? Yes and much, much more. I was expecting a B movie with a Disney financed A movie advertising budget. I was quickly corrected. This movie is the movie you’ve been waiting for. A+.

Would I see it again? I plan on seeing Guardians at least once more in theaters and have every intention of purchasing the Blu Ray when it comes out on release, hopefully by Christmas.