Movie Review: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
I’ll admit it, when I first heard this movie was getting made I laughed at the whole concept. The fact that a studio would actually pay money to get this made seemed like an absurd idea to me. I hadn’t even known this was a book when it was first announced. But then surely enough they released a few trailers and BAM I was sold. Watching one of the country’s greatest presidents go to work on vampires no longer seemed stupid, it was pure badass. And let me tell you folks, this movie was plenty badass.
In case you couldn’t tell what the premise of this movie was from the title let me give you the rundown. When he was a boy Abraham Lincoln witnessed his mother being murdered by, you guessed it, a vampire. Skip ahead to an older Abe trying, but failing to get his revenge when he comes across a man named Henry Sturges who, after some begging and pleading from Abe, decides to train him to hunt vampires. He sends him up north to combat the vampire threat up there and thus starts the path of becoming the Abe Lincoln we know and love though now he just so happens to be killing vampires.
I’ve never read the book which is probably a good thing because I feel I was able to enjoy this movie for what it was without comparing it to the book. I’ve heard they’re both different in many ways which is surprising to me since Seth Grahame-Smith, the man who wrote the book, wrote the movie as well. So it begs to question whether all the changes were his choice or that of the studio execs trying to push out a summer blockbuster. But I digress. The story was straightforward which was both a good and bad thing. While the story was trying to offer up a whole lot it also forgot to have some slight character development. Granted how much character development could you get from a film titled Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter? But still it would have been nice to actually care about some of these characters other than Abe. Aside from Abe, Henry is the only other character given any sort of emotional weight. Everyone else just seems to be there because historically they were part of Lincoln’s life.
It was great to see how the Civil War played a part in taking down the vampires and was a clever plot point. It was also interesting to see that Lincoln’s entire political career was oriented toward removing vampires from America. But don’t worry folks, he kicks plenty of ass before and after becoming presidents.
Whatever short comings the story may have had and it’s characters, all the actors did a good job with what they had. But crazy props to Benjamin Walker for pulling of a convincing young and old Lincoln. This guys seemed to be a young Liam Neeson which is funny because he played a younger version of Neeson’s character in Kinsey. Rufus Sewell is great as Adam, the ancient vampire behind it all, though he has always been great at playing villains so I expected nothing less. Eveyone else was good, but again their characters aren’t given much to do other than drive the plot forward and be there for historical reference. I was disappointed that Mary Todd wasn’t given something to do other than be Lincoln love interest. They could have done something interesting with her instead they just have here there because ultimately she was his wife. And it is a shame because they had Mary Elizabeth Winstead to portray her and if you’ve seen Scott Pilgrim vs The World you’ll feel she was wasted in this movie.
But ultimately what this film boils down to is this: is it worth watching? And I have to say hells yes to that. When it comes to the action the film delivers. When you watch Lincoln go to work on vampires and wield that ax you can’t help but be giddy at the fact that it’s Abraham Lincoln going to town on these blood suckers. The final action set piece that takes place on the train is worth the price of admission alone. This film is badass and it knows it. It helps that this is directed by Timur Bekmambetov, the director ofWanted so the man knows how to deliver awesome action with gorgeous visuals. The film is shot beautifully and all the sets work fantastic. I just wish he hadn’t gone to the Zack Snyder Film School and used so much slo-mo during action scenes. I get why it’s done and sometime it works great, but other times it just feels like it was done to stretch out the overall run time.
This film, for all intent and purposes is a ridiculous, fun, badass popcorn flick. If you can’t go into the theater embracing the simple concept and relax and enjoy the ride then just don’t go; it’s as simple as that. But if you go in expecting nothing more than to see Abe Lincoln be a total badass then you will have a ton of fun with this movie. While not quite a summer blockbuster that shouldn’t keep you from having gun with this. Go check it out and bring your friends along for the ride.