For those of you that didn’t know about the book by Seth Grahame-Smith, I’m sure when you first heard the title ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER, it sounded like a joke. That was my first reaction too. I watched the first teaser and I still didn’t take it seriously. But then, as the marketing revved up, and the ‘Good’ trailers started coming out, my imagination was turned on and my love for crazy visuals was excited. Then I realized that director Timur Bekmambetov was at the helm. He not only directed WANTED , but the Russian director produced NIGHT WATCH and DAYWATCH, two very cool looking supernatural films based on a novel trilogy. I knew I was in for some impossible fantasy scenes.
Abe Lincoln is a young man bent on revenge. As a boy, his mother was taken from him by what he didn’t know at the time was a vampire. He almost dies fighting the man thing who took his mother, but a stranger saves him. Henry Sturgess proceeds to teach Lincoln about Vampires and how to kill them. Lincoln still seeks revenge, but the bigger picture of saving the nation from vampires taking over outweighs his personal vendetta, at least for a while.
You may not know what to expect when the lights go down and the film starts. What you do get as the first opening scenes play is that the film isn’t a joke. Sure, the concept is out of this world, but the film makers balance that with a serious tone as Lincoln first introduces himself and his story. They also did a good job on the 1800′s settings. The cinematography was nice and only got better as the film progressed.
As I said, Bekmambetov is a very visual director. When Lincoln meets his first assailant, and when Henry comes in to save him, we get a little taste of what’s to come. One of the best action scenes is the horse stamped, were Abraham must survive both his enemy and being trampled by horses.
I like how they handled the plot. The story went from Lincoln as a youthful adult all the way to the time of the civil war. I have to say though, the film seemed very rushed at times. Granted, it was a lot of story to cover, but they definitely jumped from situation to situation without letting you take a breath. Because of that, I felt there were some plot holes along the way, but it’s more like they just left explanation of the scenes to your reasoning. That’s if your reasoning could work with all the crazy stuff Lincoln was doing. His axe skills and athletics were better than a Shaolin Kung-Fu Monk.
Benjamin Walker played the renowned president. I can’t say Walker’s performance was amazing, but I think he caught some of the stoic personality that you would think Lincoln had back in the day. They tried to show his evolution from a naive guy on a vampire killing mission, to a man moved by the injustices of slavery and oppression. One person that helped shape his moral views in the film was Anthony Mackie‘s character Will Johnson, a childhood friend of Lincoln and a free black man who was still pursued by slavers. Mackie played his role well, and so did Dominic Cooper as Sturgess. But the real performance that started to rise above was Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Mary Todd Lincoln. It’s not that she was going to win an oscar, but out of the cast, I liked her portrayal of the President’s wife in the third act. Rufus Sewell as the antagonist Adam could have been more menacing. I got the sense that the heroes where in danger, but not impossible odds.
Though the scenes felt a little choppy and mashed up against each other, as I mentioned, the cinematography was done well for the kind of fantasy film it was. The costuming wasn’t bad, and the sets were mostly convincing of the time.
Mainly I just had to get over the totally impossible things that the characters were doing, and enjoy the fight scenes between the living and the undead. If that was Walker doing all those axe moves and stunts, then I have to give him much credit.
So basically, you might enjoy the film if you can suspend your disbelief, and if you don’t mind a fast-paced fantasy period piece that’s visually fun and exciting. GEEK SOUL BROTHER gives ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER 3.25 out of 5 COSMIC AFROS.