It seems that vampires have the ability to do anything they please. They can walk in the sun, bend the elements, and wield guns and swords like ninja warriors. This weekend they add yet another quality to their ever growing list starting the civil war. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter has opened this weekend and just as the title has suggested, there is a load of cheesy ideas to fill this movie. Was this like most vampire cheesiness though or does Abraham Lincoln’s tale stand out? Read on and decide for yourself as I give some insight into the movie.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, for those of you who haven’t seen the trailers, is a story that starts out with death. A vampire by the name of Jack Barts (Marton Csokas) murders Lincoln’s mother as he watches in fear. Nine years later, Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) attempts to avenge his mother by murdering the wise cracking vampire, only to fail his mission. However, a new ally named Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) save Lincoln and trains him in the art of vampire slaying to prepare him for a bigger mission. That mission is to not eliminate one vampire, but a whole army that resides in the south who are planning to establish their empire one nation at a time.
Now let’s face it although the trailers have made it look really cool, the idea of our 16th president being the newest Buffy is a little out there. Yes it is supposed to be a satire on a classic tale, but honestly why vampires and not something else. Despite the cheesy ideas though, the production team did a clever job integrating their imagination with historical events. The underground railroad, the silver mining operation, and the civil war were all modified to have an undead twist to help create a new story that was although cheesy entertaining to watch. However, like most movies these days, the team sometimes stretches their creative minds too far, which results in some annoying/stupid ideas that make you roll your eyes. The varying dialog doesn’t help much as the most in depth comes from Lincoln’s various speeches and addresses that can be found in any textbook or historical site. Sure a few of the jokes and one liners are funny, but it is due more to irony one sees with Lincoln saying them.
Perhaps the biggest strength of this movie is the action scenes, which for once has finally lived up to the trailers. Lincoln’s moves are pretty sweet, and although it’s hilarious and rather ridiculous to see the president hacking away, the moves are rather well shot. The various action scenes are diverse enough to keep the action fresh and fun, helping to give vampire slaying an edge that’s been missing for quite some time. Lincoln uses his environment and hatchet to fulfill his hits, and most of the scenes are fast and exciting to bring one into the moment. Unfortunately for some, there is also some rather disturbing and graphic factors that I wish to warn you about. Those thinking of taking younger audience members may want to think twice as the countless close ups of vampires may have nightmare provoking faces and ear shattering screams that can scare you half silly. If you’re one who gets sick from gore filled scenes then again avoid this movie as with nearly every swing follows a river of black blood. Yet another thing that seems to go hand in hand with action these days is the 300 technique of delayed motion. Like so many action scenes, Lincoln is filled with exaggerated swings and ducks that would put walking under water to shame. I can see two reasons for this overabundance of slow motion scenes. Number one is to help emphasize the finishing kills and help the audience feel the thrill of the final kill. The second reason, and perhaps the biggest reason, is many of the scenes were shot for 3-D. Whether it’s throwing an axe, or a horizontal swing the movie has countless scenes to pop out of the audience, which in the 2-D version of the movie was lost on me. However, for those who love the technique, well drink up this movie and enjoy.
I guess the last thing to comment on is the acting, which was okay but nothing special. Walker does a decent job capturing both the younger and older versions of Lincoln, acting rogue enough to be a hormonal teenager, yet calm enough to be the authoritative figure. As for Cooper, well he did a decent job playing the hunter as he captured the drifter/ranger character well. However, he also had numerous other emotions down and when the time called for him to show those emotions he delivers. The rest of the cast is fine and play their parts well, but I don’t have much room left to comment on their strengths, since the acting isn’t the strongest part of this movie.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is an entertaining movie that is full of action and gore. Although the concept is rather ridiculous, it is worth a shot for any action lover or vampire movie watcher, though it is not a masterpiece. The clever integration of fiction into fact is worthy of applause, despite the rather predictable story. Perhaps the next time they do a movie like this though they find a better balance of using slow motion and perhaps even leave out the 3-D filming. The scores for the film are below:
Action/Fantasy/Horror: 6.5- 7.0
Movie Overall: 6.0