Based loosely on the Grimm fairy tales, the basis of the story of Hansel & Gretel opens with the original tale with the two innocent children played by Cedric Eich (Hansel) & Alea Sophia Boudodimos (Gretel) lost in the woods, coming across a house made of candy & they're contact with a witch, which get's rather heated. Surviving the encounter & learning about they're immunity to magic which put's it's own unique twist on things, we see them become adults & molded into a pair of legendary witch hunting bad asses, Hansel (Renner) & Gretel (Arterton). The main plot see's them come up against a powerful witch, Muriel (Janssen), who they must stop from finishing a ritual which will make all witches immune to fire.
Overall i have to say i came away entertained. The setting was perfect, with a very dark, Grimm, Gothic & eerie setting/backdrop that helped make the idea of witches & beasts in this reality, believable. The action side of things is a combination of Underworld/Blade/The Matrix/Solomon Kane & is ever present as the film jumps to set piece, to set piece with the odd bit of side story breaking thing's up & combining together towards the finale to bring some closure. Hansel & Gretel clad in sleek leather outfits believable to the era, while wielding an array of steampunk style weapons. Aren't shy about blood & gore, as we see an array of decapitations, limbs pulled apart & blood splattered generously. The makeup for the witches & CGI effects were excellent to accompany everything as well. The story itself had quite a few interesting side's to it besides the main plot. Such as romance, friendship, fans, jealously & delving into the back story of Hansel & Gretel's origins.
The cast were all pretty much spot on with what they had to work with. Hansel played by Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) was quite reserved overall, a been there done that type who is hard to excite & find's his work mundane. To the other extent was Gretel played by Brit Gemma Arterton (Prince of Persia) who donned a very believable Amercian accent, who loved her job, very energetic, limber & quick with the quips when putting down the baddies. The scene stealer however IMO was Famke Janssen (Taken) who deliciously played the menacing & devious Muriel, with a combination of over the top & serious acting that you could see she was relishing every moment of it, and as a result was mesmerizing to watch in her scenes. The support cast was made up of a variety of lesser known European players for the most part, with the exception of the well traveled Peter Stormare (Lockout) who seems to be in everything recently, giving another assured, strong authoritative role where he butt's head's with the lead duo.
In conclusion, Hansel & Gretel is a good piece of over the top fantasy action entertainment, that doesn't take itself too seriously so you shouldn't either. Literally races through it's 90 minute run time. Recommended.