One of the most revered political figures in American history is actually a secret vampire hunter? If you can accept this idea then you might just have fun with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Review after the jump
The year is 1818 and young Abraham is living on the grounds of a plantation owned by Jack Barts (Marton Csokas) where his parents work. He angers Jack when he defends his African American friend William, and in response Jack fires his father and attacks his mother, who dies the next day. Fast-forward nine years – the now adult Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) hunts Jack down to seek his revenge, but he fails when he is overpowered by him. It is only the actions of Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) which save him from the same fate as his mother. Henry informs Abraham that Jack is a vampire, and there are many more of his kind out there. Henry offers to become Abraham’s mentor and teach him the way of vampire hunting, so that he can help him cull the monsters and eventually get his revenge by killing Jack Bates.
The film follows Abraham on his journey to become both a vampire hunter and a political figure – the two jobs become intertwined and it is Abraham’s vampire hunting skills which are needed when the Union soldiers are forced to fight a civil war against an army of Confederate vampire soldiers.
Obviously this film is a fantasy, and therefore if you choose to pick out the historical inaccuracies, you’re missing the point. This film is ridiculous silly fun and absolutely nothing more. Embrace the fact that the president of the United States is a secret skilled vampire hunter, and enjoy an action-packed, laugh-filled film. The action set-pieces are skilfully choreographed, and despite the clunky 3D they are quite impressive. One scene involving a chase over the backs of galloping horses was particularly imaginative and amusing – utterly impossible, but fun nonetheless.
I’m not sure if this film meant to be as funny as it is, but boy it is funny. It never really takes itself seriously and embraces the absurd concept and completely runs with it. Some of the poor dialogue and less-than-superb acting also gave me many, many unintentional laughs. For me this is a rare “so bad it’s good” film – sure the action is good, but other than that it isn’t a great film. The editing is awful, the sub-plots are underdeveloped, and the character development is questionable. However, overall for me it works because it never pretends to be a great film – it sets out to be entertaining, and entertaining is what it is.
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Writer(s): Seth Grahame-Smith (screenplay), Seth Grahame-Smith (novel)
Starring: Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper
Runtime: 105 minutes
Release date(s): USA: June 22 2012; New Zealand & Australia: August 2 2012