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Review: ‘The Huntsman: Winter’s War’ is a very generic, fantasy action film

2016-04-29-The-Huntsman-Winters-War-movie-posterBy MARK VIOLA

Four years ago, Hollywood gave us “Snow White and the Huntsman,” a darker, more action-filled take on the classic fairy tale. Although that film had its flaws, not the least of which was its lead character, I gave it credit for building a wonderful fantasy world in which to tell its story.

So I was at least curious about how that world would be expanded in the follow-up, “The Huntsman: Winter’s War,” which focuses on Chris Hemsworth’s character, The Huntsman. Unfortunately, while the film boasts a great cast and features some solid fantasy action sequences, the rest of the movie, especially the story, is terribly generic. In fact, I would go as far as to say that if you hired a director and screenwriter and gave them the directive to make the most generic, mediocre fantasy action movie they could, the result would be something quite similar to “The Huntsman.”

That being said, even the most generic movie can avoid being outright bad, and for the majority of the film, “The Huntsman” accomplishes just that. Then the final act kicks off and the last 20 minutes or so happen and, well, it’s outright bad. Fans of the first film, along with fans of Hemsworth, might find enough to keep them entertained over its nearly two-hour runtime, but this simply isn’t a movie that I can recommend to anyone else.

I’ve probably been more forgiving of films just as generic as this one, but again, the final act is what does this one in. Obviously I can’t get into specifics without spoiling major plot points, but suffice it to say, it really feels like the final 20 minutes make up the story the filmmakers really wanted to tell, and unfortunately, not only does it make the preceding 100 minutes seem extraneous, it also counteracts much of the investment we had for that story.

It also doesn’t help that one of the film’s trailers basically tried to tell us that these last 20 minutes are, in fact, the movie we were getting, and does so by spoiling a major plot twist, which completely undermines one of the central story arcs of the film if you go into the affair knowing that the twist is coming.

“The Huntsman: Winter’s War” is a very generic, fantasy action film that could have been decent popcorn fun for those not looking for a lot of depth, but sadly a very poorly thought-out final act derails its from providing even that basic enjoyment.

The film is rated PG-13 for fantasy action violence and some sensuality.

(This is a abbreviated version of the full review available in our printed or e-edition papers.)

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