'Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters'
1 1/2 stars
An R-rated horror action comedy fairy tale -- how's that for genre bending?
"Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" is more Gatling guns and grenades than the Brothers Grimm. It takes the kidnapped kiddies into adulthood, where they've parlayed their fame at cooking a witch's goose into a business. Got a witch problem? Call H & G, the extermination experts.
High concept pitch or no, the movie doesn't really work. They were shooting for sort of a witch-hunting "Zombieland," an F-bomb-riddled "Van Helsing" packed with comical anachronisms -- a Bavarian forest past with witch trials, pump shotguns and primitive stun guns, where bottles of milk have woodcut pictures of missing children on the labels.
It isn't long after Hansel mutters "anyplace we can get a drink in this hell hole?" that the siblings are on the job, chasing lesser witches in pursuit of the Great Witch, played by
And there may be a troll involved.
"Trolls are extra," Hansel growls, always watching their bottom line.
Hansel and Gretel have a groupie (
Writer-director Tommy Wirkola focuses on the fights, and flings all manner of viscera at the 3-D camera as limbs are whacked off and heads and torsos explode. Less attention was paid to the story, and the dialogue is a tad over-reliant on the random F-word to land a laugh.
The cleverest touch? Hansel's mania for candy-covered houses is what landed Hansel & Gretel in that witch's clutches, all those years ago. Now, he carries an ancient hypodermic needle and takes injections to ward off insulin shock.
The moral of the fairy tale? Lay off the candy or a witch'll get you.
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"Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" Movie Trailer
MPAA rating: R (for strong fantasy horror violence and gore, brief sexuality/nudity and language).
Running time: 1:26.
Credits: Directed by Tommy Wirkola; written by Wirkola and
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