fantasy elements: witches, trolls, steampunk weapons
What happened to Hansel and Gretel after they killed the witch in the gingerbread house? Well, they grow up, carry on killing witches, and now they are bounty hunters, killing witches for hire. They have an advantage: witch magic doesn’t affect them. Now they have been hired by the mayor of a village, to get back several children stolen by the witches. Then they discover that the witches are trying for a powerful spell that will make them invulnerable to fire...
This is an amusing splatter-fest, as villains, witches, and innocent bystanders get stomped, blasted, chopped, shredded, and otherwise dispatched. Hansel [Jeremy Renner] and Gretel [Gemma Arterton] cut a swathe through the witches. They are armed with guns, big guns, bigger guns, and a rapid fire multi-shot double crossbow, all with a kind of pre-steam punk vibe (incuding Hansel's wrist chromometer, to remind him to inject himself against the “sugar sickness” he developed from being force-fed sweets by the gingerbread house witch). Since witches move very fast, they often miss shooting them, allowing for much hand-to-hand, hand-to-chin, and foot-to-chin action.
The plot is fairly linear, with the “big surprise reveal” well-telegraphed. But it is all played with a knowing deadpan humour (watch Hansel pull the fanboy to shield him from the witches’ warning at the inn, for example). A fun, well made piece of mind candy – with enough splatter and gore that it won't give you “sugar sickness”.
reviewed 27 July 2013