After losing his latest apprentice to his most feared arch-enemy, a very powerful witch and coven leader named Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), John Gregory (Jeff Bridges) must track down another. Legend and tradition dictates that the new apprentice must be a seventh son of a seventh son, as they are supposed to be stronger than regular mortal men. But Gregory will soon discover there is much more to the mild mannered Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) then is first apparent and Tom may be the apprentice he has waited his whole life for.
Based on a successful series of Spooks books, the film is based on the first book, The Spooks Apprentice, and the series spans over 10 novels already published. Seventh Son certainly has a lot of material and universe building to pick from, and perhaps its this fact that causes the film to be so unstructured and unfocused. Director Sergey Bodrov seems to have decided to use the same path that other films have paved before him instead of trying anything new. The film becomes a uninspired mix of Clash of the Titans and Dragonslayer with the campy and dumb effects work and set design of the Dragonball Z live action film thrown in for good measure.
The film manages to waste the immense talent of Julianne Moore as she is given nothing to work with here. Jeff Bridges is basically rehashing his character from 2013’s disastrous R.I.P.D, but admittedly with much better results. Barnes is adequate if not forgettable as our lead Tom, a harmless performance that makes little impact on screen. Alicia Vikander and John DeSantis are the standouts here as Alice, Tom’s love interest, and Tusk, Gregory’s servant/companion, respectively. Vikander delivers a seductive performance that feels very much like it should be in a much better film and Desantis has a lot of fun with the comedic relief that Tusk provides. Even established character actors like Djimon Hounsou and Jason Scott Lee make little impact playing members of Malkin’s coven.
Director Bodrov has delivered a film that seems to have been smashed together with bits from other films and questionable CGI that looks to have just been squeezed under a meagre budget despite the $95 million dollar price tag. Seventh Son is an unmitigated mess of a film, although thanks to some laughs, both intentional and unintentional, solid work from some of the supporting cast and a likeable if not forgettable lead, it’s at least a watchable mess. But its hardly the film you need to run out and face the near arctic conditions of February to catch in theatres.