Vin Diesel makes a bid for yet another franchise with a supernatural action romp that's both deeply ridiculous and enjoyably entertaining. The premise is basically Underworld with witches, and Diesel uses his meathead charm to coast through his role as an immortal warrior. Thankfully, the crazed production design and some solid costars do most of the acting for him. And director Breck Eisner keeps the pace snappy enough to hold the audience's interest, even if we're laughing at it rather than with it.
Diesel plays Kaulder, who in the 13th century killed a nefarious witch queen (Julie Engelbrecht) and was cursed with immortality. Now 800 years later, he's living the high life in Manhattan and leading the Axe and Cross to contain the world's witch population. His assistant is the 36th Dolan (Michael Caine), who has just named the 37th (Elijah Wood) when they're attacked by the mysterious Belial (Olaf Darri Olafsson). He's determined to resurrect the queen and return humanity to the dark ages. So Kaulder sets out to stop him, teaming up with helpful witch Chloe (Rose Leslie), who has some special abilities that aid them as things get increasingly crazed.
Continue reading: The Last Witch Hunter Review
Fans of the 2007 Spartan war romp 300 probably won't care that this spin-off is even more chaotic and much murkier to look at. It still features armies of scantily clad muscle men grunting idiotic declamatory dialogue as they charge into cartoon-style battles against all odds. No, this isn't particularly subtle filmmaking: it's loud and brutal. And good for an unintentional laugh.
At the same time as Spartan King Leonidas (a briefly glimpsed Gerard Butler) is leading his 300 men to battle against Xerses (Santoro), Greek General Themistocles (Stapleton) approaches Leonidas' wife Gorgo (Headey) for help facing Xerses vengeful military commander Artemisia (Green) on another front at sea. Themistocles' main officers are Aesyklos (Matheson) and Scyllias (Mulvey), whose son Calisto (O'Connell) secretly joins the army as they set sail for an epic ship-based battle against Artemisia's fearsome forces. And there are two more watery conflicts to come, each more outrageous than the one before, as Artemisia taunts Themistocles seductively while dispensing fiery death and destruction at every turn.
The addition of two strong women adds a bit of interest here, but the focus is still on the bare-chested men, even if only three or for of them actually emerge into proper characters. Headey's chief contribution is a rambling voiceover narration explaining everything for us, while Green's wry smirk and momentous glower let her steal every scene. By contrast, the men seem rather feeble. Stapleton is manly and commanding, but not hugely charismatic. Rising-star O'Connell barely gets two decent scenes. Santoro is hilariously grouchy eye candy. And everyone else is clearly expendable.
Continue reading: 300: Rise Of An Empire Review
While it's too uneven and corny to be a classic, it's still a lot of fun.
After the King disappears, his daughter Snow White (Collins) is raised by her conniving step-mother (Roberts), who plots with her right-hand man (Lane) to steal the kingdom from Snow. Then handsome Prince Alcott (Hammer) arrives and shakes things up, immediately falling for Snow, which sends the queen into even crazier fits of jealousy. She sends Snow into the woods to be eaten by a mythical beast, but Snow instead befriends a gang of dwarf bandits (Povinelli, Klebba, Saraceno, Prentice, Gnoffo and Woodburn), who teach her how to fight back.
Continue reading: Mirror Mirror Review
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