A Movie Review on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is based off of the best selling novel of the same name written by Seth Grahame-Smith, who also provided the screenplay for the movie. I was a bit on the fence about this movie going into it. On one hand, I heard all the negative reviews for the movie, and many of them were quite off putting. On the other hand though, I thought the movie looked like silly fun, but many too silly. I skipped seeing it in theaters to avoid shelling out 12 bucks to see a movie I wasn't sure I would have enjoyed. Renting it through Netflix or Redbox seemed like a more logical choice. It's a good thing I waited until it came out Blu-ray and DVD since the movie didn't really do much for me when I watched it. It wasn't a terrible movie, nor was it a great movie. It's entertaining enough for an action film to hold itself together.
The movie combines historical fact with fiction, taking facts and events in Abraham Lincoln's life, and splicing it with Vampires. The movie begins in 1818 with a young Abraham Lincoln witnessing his mother being bitten by a Vampire. 9 years later Lincoln tries to get revenge on the man who he saw attack his mother, but little does he know that the man is a Vampire. He attacks the man, but soon finds out he is no match for the Vampire. A man by the name of Henry rescues him, and under certain rules, teaches him how to be a Vampire Hunter. The movie then follows Lincoln through his younger years, as well as his presidency, as he eradicates Vampires from America.
As you can already tell the story is quite silly, and its get even sillier when Vampires become the main force of the confederates during the Civil War. It's silly, but it's not stupid. The film would have greatly benefited if it didn't take itself so serious, but was tongue in-cheek about the whole thing. For having such a silly premise, the movie takes itself way too serious, which hurts the film. It could have so much better if the film was give the audience some laughs, and if the film was a little more self aware. The story is so out there, and so silly, that as a historical fiction/action/comedy it might have become a hit instead of a box office flop.
It's the action scenes that really save this movie. They are fun, stylish, and quite bloody, offering plenty of entertainment to make up for all too serious tone of the film. Timur Bekmambetov, the director of the movie, shows such great visual style and flair when creation action scenes. They are never dull or boring, and are almost always spectacular to me. Wanted features some stunning action sequences, and the same goes for Abraham Lincoln. The Vampire kills are insanely bloody, the civil war vampires vs. Union scenes are great, the final big action set that really leaves you in awe. It gives you Lincoln and Co. battling it out against a horde of Vampires, on a moving train, while going over a wooden bridge that's on fire. It's quite awesome to see, and any lesser director would not have been able to pull it off.
The actors all did generally well in their roles. Benjamin Walker was great as Abraham Lincoln, and looked great as an older Lincoln. The make up artists really did a wonderful, making him look very similar to Lincoln. Walker is no Daniel-Day Lewis, but he still delivers. I think Anthony Mackie is a great actor, and he once again shows why I love him. Jimmi Simpson, from the show Breakout Kings, does a fine job as Joshua Speed, Lincoln assistant. Dominic Cooper, as Lincoln's mentor Henry, also does a fine job, fitting the role of training vampire hunters like a glove (not O.J.'s). Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Lincoln's tough-as-nails wife who puts up with Lincoln through all his Vampire killing. The great Alan Tudyk makes a small appearance in the film as Lincoln's wife's ex-lover, and a politician from Illinois.
With a less serious tone, and a slightly better script this movie may have had a better chance at being the summer blockbuster it hoped it would be. Now that it's on Blu-ray and DVD it may find a bigger audience than it did in the theaters. The action scenes work well, and are quite bloody and stylish. The actor's all do fine jobs in the role, and Walker delivers the look and feel of Abraham Lincoln. The movie's downfall lies in the fact that it takes itself way too seriously, and would have fared much better if it was more tongue-in-cheek.
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov
Starring Benjamin Walker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Anthony Mackie, Dominic Cooper, Jimmi Simpson, Alan Tudyk, Rufus Sewell, and Marton Csokas.
Rated R. Runtime: 105 Minutes
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 23rd 2012.