When you first hear the words Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter there are several thoughts it immediately conjures including; laughter, disbelief and the standard “my god what a stupid concept.” The title of the movie sounds like one of those cheesy Syfy channel Saturday night movies. Another great thing about this title – it tells you EXACTLY what type of movie you are getting.
This movie is not for people who want to analyze the craftsmanship of modern filmmaking or walk out having experienced some grand revelation about life and death. No, this movie, as the title implies is about Abraham Lincoln kicking vampire ass all over the screen. It is not meant to be a history lesson.
Once you go in with a willingness to buy into this absolutely ridiculous you just have to shut your brain off and go with it. Director Timur Bekmambetov and Producer Tim Burton deliver exactly what is expected from a film like this. Yeah, you can question one of the most ridiculous action sequences ever – an extended Vampire fight through a herd of horses.
How they went from a western city to a stampeding herd of wild horses? How silly and poorly shot was the moment when a Vampire picks up a horse and throws it at Abe? Who cares, even if the execution wasn’t as good as it could have been, the concept was cool. There are certain scenes where the color appears to be washed out and the post-converted 3D does not help.
If you watched Bekmambetov’s over the top Wanted or his masterpiece of weirdness NIghtwatch/Daywatch you’ll come to expect weird, innovative action set pieces. The guy has a truly unique visual style, sense of humor but not always the budget to bring his productions up to the level of his vision.
He actually gives writer Seth Grahame-Smith’s story a chance to breathe and suck you in. Before the movie degenerates into complete ridiculous the movie does a great job of establishing all the characters.
I actually liked Benjamin Walker as the Axe Wielding butt kicking young Abe Lincoln. His stump speeches didn’t work at all, but the movie really gets over the top – as if it already wasn’t, when we get the full on slow motion Action show of Abe with full beard, black outfit and top hat. I want this guy to be my President! Mary Elizabeth Winstead was pretty decent as Mary Todd.
The cast is rounded out by Rufus Sewell as the 5,000 year old Vampire bad guy, Anthony Mackie as the token black guy and Abe’s best friend, and Dominic Cooper as Abe’s Vampire killing mentor. It also has Breakout King’s (A show I discovered on Netflix) Jimmi Simpson in a goofy looking blond wig. Every one does a decent job with material that is just stupid. Do you really come to a movie like this for the acting? I have to admit, I’m curious to read the Seth Grahame-Smith book this movie is based.
If you want a good time at the theater with a movie that delivers exactly what you’d expect it to, then Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is the campy, decent time you may be looking for.
Final Grade B-