There is a current trend developing in action movies to take traditional stories and put a wicked action spin on them. Last year's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter showed how these films could be a huge success. The latest twisted tale is Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters which shows that they may always be fun but may not always be good.
Witch Hunters gives a continuation of the classic story of Hansel and Gretel. After the brother/sister duo kills a witch as kids, Hansel (Jeremy Renner) and Gretel (Gemma Arterton) become witch bounty hunters that travel from town to town looking for top dollar for their services. On one of these missions, they enter the town of Augsburg and meet their match in a super witch (Famke Janssen) stealing the children of the city to get ready for a sacrifice under the upcoming Blood Moon. They have to combine forces with some friends they encounter along the way to try and save the town and save the world.
The premise to this movie is really clever. There is a reason this is a trend that has started to develop. Telling familiar stories in a new way and setting instantly grab curiosity. That is what drew me to this movie. You can tell the two teams are having fun. Jeremy Renner is good in everything, and Gemma Arterton has quickly become my new celebrity crush. The premise and the acting were not what was wrong with this film.
Everything was in place to have a solid action flick, but they botched the execution. The dialogue was corny and campy no matter how well they were delivered by the lead actors. The film was gory and vulgar at times simply for the sake of being gory and vulgar. What made Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter a good film was it took itself seriously. Hansel & Gretel never takes itself seriously, but wants you at times to think that it did. When a film sends mixed messages as badly as this one does, it makes you roll your eyes at the corny parts and scoff at the serious parts. It just didn't work.
One thing I find as a gift is I always tend to see the best in movies. I found this movie a lot of fun despite its flaws. By no means is it considered a good movie, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it on some level. It is the definition of an "awesomely bad" film. So if you want some cheap entertainment at the theatre, check out Hansel & Gretel. It's nowhere near a great film, but it is fun for what it is.
Rating: 1.5 stars