You know the story. Two kids left in the woods by their parents find a house made of candy which is unfortunately inhabited by a witch who likes to devour children. The kids manage to roast the witch in her own oven and escape. That story is intact as the very beginning of Hansel and Gretel: Witch hunters. Then it tells you what happened next. Apparently Hans and Gret got a taste for doing away with witches and they make a career of it.
The movie picks up many years later when the now adult pair are called to a village that's being plagued by missing children and strange goings on. Hansel and Gretel investigate and find that a which named Muriel is planning a ritual that will make it impossible to kill witches by fire, the one sure way of doing them in. She just needs the blood of a dozen or so innocent kids and one secret ingredient that I'll let you learn about yourselves.
This is a fun fun movie, but definitely not to be taken seriously. H&G use a bunch of anachronistic steampunk weapons and they and the witches seem to have been inexplicably tutored in wushu style martial arts. But we don't care about that. It's too much fun to see the orphans throw down on the bad guys.
Hansel is played by Jeremy Renner, who seems to be the action hero of the hour these days, what with roles in The Avengers, The Bourne Legacy, Mission Impossible, and such. Here he's a slightly goofy, shy young man who knows how to kill witches with the best of them but not how to talk to a pretty girl.
Gemma Arterton manages to be cute, tough, sexy, vulnerable and funny all at the same time as Gretel. She's no stranger to action movies either, having appeared in Prince of Persia, Quantum of Solace, and Clash of the Titans, but here she has to really amp things up as she's involved in most of the major fight scenes.
And them there's Muriel, played with scenery chewing relish by Famke Jansen. She's hot when she's human and repulsive when she's a witch. And she's a very good villain. The movie wouldn't have worked nearly as well without her.
Hansel and Gretel is a fast paced, funny, creepy thrill ride of a film. It is a bit on the gory side, but it's comic book gore and not at all realistic. Still, probably not one for the kids. I'll probably give this one a re-watch at Halloween.