HANSEL_GRETELJeremy Renner as Hansel
Gemma Arterton as Gretel
Famke Janssen as Muriel
Pihla Viitala as Mina
Peter Stormare as Sheriff Berringer
Rainer Bock as Mayor Engleman
In theaters January 25

You know the story…as children Hansel and Gretel were abandoned in the woods by their father.  Wandering, frightened and hungry they happened upon a cabin made of candy.  That cabin was inhabited by a witch who took the children in.  She made Gretel her slave while she imprisoned Hansel and fed him candy to fatten him up so she could eat him.  But before she could, Gretel turned the tables on the old hag and they pushed her into the oven to burn.  That’s where the similarity to the fairytale ends and the movie begins.  From that point on Hansel and Gretel devote their lives to hunting down witches and eliminating them.  As far as they are concerned, the only good witch is a DEAD witch.

H &G travel the region for several years making a name for themselves as witch exterminators.  Now adults, one day they come to a town who is about to execute a girl named Mina who has been accused of witchcraft. Hansel concludes the accusation is false. However,  the town is in a frenzy because several children have gone missing.  The mayor has invited H&G to rid the town of the “Witch Plague” much to the dislike of the sheriff who thinks he can handle it himself. So it’s up to H&G to find the witch, or witches, kill them, and bring the children back alive.  Just a day at the office for the duo, but this time there may be more to this case than they have bargained for.

I was not sure what to expect from this film, but I was totally blown away!  This is fairytale magic with an epic dose of kick ass!  It’s slightly tongue-in-cheek, but not overly so- there’s just the right amount of humor. There was a cute joke that had elements of the “modern” world here, ie: parchment drawings of missing children tied to milk bottles, but make no mistake, Hansel and Gretel are the baddest of bad-asses when it comes to putting down witches.

Their tools of the trade, in other words their weapons, are a thing of beauty and a joy to see in action, although some I’m sure didn’t exist in the time period.  The exact time period isn’t mentioned, but you get a general idea.  There are some things that are “out of time” but kind of cool that they are part of the reality.  There is a device that is basically a stun gun or taser (hand cranked to charge) and Gretel has a wicked cool crossbow that does amazing things!  Hansel has what I could only call an uber shotgun (you’ll have to see it to believe it!).

The cast includes two time Oscar- nominee Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker, The Avengers, Thor)  as Hansel so you know he’s the real thing when it comes to kicking ass.  Gretel is Gemma Arterton, an english actress known for her appearances in Pirate Radio, Prince of Persia, and the remake of Clash of the Titans.  The head witch in charge is played flawlessly by Famke Janssen.  The first time I ever saw this woman’s craft was in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Then as Xenia Onatopp in the Bond filck, Goldeneye and then as Ava from Nip/Tuck, some may also know her as Jean Grey from the X-Men movies, or Liam Neeson’s wife in the Taken series.

If you like hard hitting action, Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is a must see!   H&G give it to you with both barrels (literally!!) The squeamish be warned! There is also definitely a gore factor here.  I will not tell you how some characters are dispensed with, but suffice it to say it is gory, but deliciously and creatively so.  When it comes to the fight scenes,  fight choreographers definitely earn their pay. While the the film is in 3D, I don’t think they took full advantage, but that’s just me.  Even though there were a lot, like more “in your face” effects.  I recommend Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters Highly!  Get yourself some popcorn  sit back and enjoy the ride!

5 out of 5 stars.

Check out the trailer for “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” below:

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