In The Last Witch Hunter Vin Diesel plays Kaulder, last man standing from an ancient order of witch hunters. Living in modern New York City, Kaulder is an immortal without purpose – that is, until a sect of horrific witches resurfaces, threatening the world with their dark magic. With evil back on the prowl, Kaulder is back in business.
The first Last Witch Hunter trailer pretty much covered the basics laid out above in footage montage, complete with voiceover from Michael Caine, who co-stars in the film as a priest of an ancient order that advises Kaulder. The new teaser is more focused on building the film’s mythology via the “Axe and Cross” mantra, which has already been an emphasized part of the viral marketing.
While details of Last Witch Hunter are still being revealed, the Axe and Cross (or #AxeandCross) moniker could be reference to the seeming relationship between priests (like the one played by Michael Caine) and Witch Hunters like Kaulder – who is seen wielding an axe (and sporting burly facial hair) in a seeming flashback to his medieval witch-hunting days. “Axe and Cross” could also refer to the witch hunters themselves; a blend of faith and violence that would admittedly be an intriguing concept to introduce into the mythos, in order to add dimensions of complexity to Kaulder.
Vin Diesel (love him or not) has been one of the most savvy stars in Hollywood when it comes to building and promoting franchise films in the 21st century. Aside from picking genre-based characters that play to his strengths as a performer (Dom Toretto, Riddick, Groot…), Diesel is a powerhouse of social media self-promotion – as evidenced by this latest Last Witch Hunter teaser, which debuted on his Facebook page to 2 million views. There are movie studios who struggle to launch a YouTube trailer that big.
That’s all to say: The Last Witch Hunter will have an audience, if only the one Vin Diesel himself generates. The film does have some creative potential; it is directed by Breck Eisner (The Crazies), who has arguably been circling a breakout hit for a while now. And while the combined resume of the screenwriters isn’t too promising (Priest, Dracula Untold), at the very least we know they can deliver some basic genre entertainment – enough for Diesel to work with.
Last Witch Hunter stars Vin Diesel as Kaldur, an immortal warrior who has been battling witches for centuries, before he arrives in modern-day New York City. There, Kaldur finds an unlikely ally in a young sorceress (Game of Thrones alum Rose Leslie), who helps him in his quest to stop the covens of New York from unleashing a terrible plague upon humankind. Supporting cast members include Elijah Wood, Michael Caine, and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson (A Walk Among the Tombstones).
The Last Witch Hunter will be in theaters on October 23rd.