Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Running Time: 105 minutes
Starring: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Jimmi Simpson.
Directed By: Timur Bekmambetov
Rating: 4.5 out of 10
President Abraham Lincoln is not only an honest guy he is out to kill as many vampires as he can.
Abraham Lincoln is one of the most lauded Presidents in American history. He led the country through the American Civil war while ending slavery. He delivered great speeches like the Gettysburg Address all while rocking a kick ass beard. So to envision him grabbing an axe and hunting down Vampires does not seem that farfetched. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is a story basically covered by that title. It follows the life and times of Abraham Lincoln from early childhood right through his presidency. It incorporates real history, people, and events with the terrifying evil of Vampires.
I must admit I was pretty stoked to see this movie. The thought of a President chasing down Vampires with an axe is a pretty cool premise. Incorporating his life into the fantasy realm was a novel idea but unfortunately for the most part it did not work. The movie starts off with Honest Abe as a young kid. I usually hate these slow scenes of character development but it worked for me in this film. You get to see why his hatred of Vampires is so deep-seated and barely contained. As he grows into a young adult Abraham stumbles through life until he meets Henry Sturgess who mentors him in the ways of killing vampires. It is pretty convenient plot development but is as good an explanation as you are going to get where Abe gets his vampire killing prowess from. The Vampires abilities in this film are well thought up if not well designed. They can walk around in sunlight and have abnormal strength and the ability to vanish completely. They also look human when not fighting so it allows them to live amongst humans with more realistic impunity. When they do turn into Vampires though they have a seen before unoriginal look to them and were quite disappointing. Where the film stumbles greatly however and this is inexcusable in a film like this is during the fight scenes. Clearly they were trying to emulate the movie 300 in this film in style. The action sequences were slowed down and highly stylized. It was in these scenes though that the film loses its feel. It was very hard to see what was going on for two reasons. The first was the choppy and too fast editing that left you dizzy. The second was the grainy old time camera textures of the shots. Also Abe fights in kicked up dust, and fog, and steam and it is almost impossible to see his killing strokes and high impact maneuvers so it was a very frustrating watch.
I enjoyed the actors in this film quite a bit. Little known actor Benjamin Walker played Abraham Lincoln and did so with a convincing portrayal. Although I thought Liam Neeson would have been a better fit as the older version of Lincoln, Walker clearly showed he belonged in this film. Abrahams mentor Henry Sturgess played by Dominic Cooper was my favorite character in this film and did a nice job of guiding Abe in the ways of Vampire Killing. The lead Vampires played by Rufus Sewell and Erin Wasson did not have to do much with their respective roles but certainly had the look down and that is all you could ask of them in this film.
I liked the backdrop and setting for this film. I found the costumes and the camerawork in the non action sequences to be superb. The film also incorporated the story of Vampire killing into Abraham Lincoln’s life quite well. I found the historical aspect to this film quite fascinating. However I was not here for a history lesson I was here for the carnage and this film never fulfilled that need. The ending was even more of a shock because of its anti climactic nature. No grandiose battle scene just images of a fight and taste of bitterness.
Director Timur Bekmambetov took what should have been a sure fire hit and ruined it with murky camera work and too abrupt scenes of action. Abraham hunts these vampire menaces and I guess he is too good at his job because he kills them before the action scene even gets going. Although the scenery and costumes are well put together and the film is very well cast Bekmambetov never really will win over his target audience. Cap it all off with a limp ending and this film missed while I could have seen a Director like Zach Snyder making this film great. This film was a truly disappointing finished product from Timur.
I cannot give this movie my recommendation and although the story was great it was for the most part a boring miss. It seems like 4 score and 7 years ago since we had a decent vampire movie.
T Factor + If you do not need in depth scenes of Action this movie could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you do not like tales of American History this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations are: 300, 30 Days of Night.