Viewed – 28 August 2011 Blu-ray
Nicholas Cage may well be one of the most prolific actors around, even if these days stand-out roles seem to pass him by, and he’s not really the star he once was. That being said he always seems to lend a likable and infinitely watchable persona to every role he takes on, so sitting down to this was an easy choice. He plays a heroic crusader turned deserter who along with his friend, fellow crusader Ron Perlman (Hellboy, Blade 2), they stumble upon the transportation of a suspected witch in a local village where a dying cardinal (an unrecognisable Christopher Lee) wishes her to be taken to a group of Monks so she will be given a trial. A plague has also gripped the land, and those in charge believe the witch is responsible. Cage & Perlman on the other hand would rather give her the benefit of the doubt.
This well shot and enticing movie was immediately appealing, as the history surrounding the Witch Hunts centuries ago fascinates me. The young actress playing the witch is convincingly manipulative, and also believably vulnerable, meaning this viewer was often undecided if she was a witch or just a wrongly accused innocent girl. Sadly, Cage doesn’t really excel in a role that could have gone to any bit-part actor, and the character seems a waste of his talent. Ron Perlman, probably one of the coolest actors around, is good fun though and makes for a great offish side-kick. Director Dominic Sena (Swordfish) has crafted a stylish and interesting tale, but is let down by a plot that runs out of ideas towards the end, and any intrigue surrounding the real-life witch hunts is squandered in place of typical Hollywood bravura and CGI.
Verdict: 3 /5