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Review: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter comes from the novel written by Seth Grahame-Smith in 2010. Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov, the director of Wanted, paired together to purchase the film rights and they even pressed through the development process out of their own pocket. Grahame-Smith even wrote the screenplay for this very film adaptation, leading one to believe that it would hold up in it's own right as a film. The film suffered in the fact that it took itself all to serious when it is meant to be more of a fun action film. Benjamin Walker beat out Adrien Brody, Josh Lucas, James D'Arcy, and Oliver Jackson-Cohen for the role of Abraham Lincoln. The film itself is a historical horror film, that should have it's fair share of comedy as it shouldn't be taken seriously but yet it doesn't.
The plot follows Abraham Lincoln (Walker) as he learns that vampires exist. He learns of this later on after he attempts to get revenge on the man that murder his mother when he was a child. The death of his mother made him into an angry and bitter man that wouldn't be quelled even with the death of his mother's murderer. He finds the murderer and attempts to kill him, but his attempt fails miserable. A mysterious stranger named Henry (Dominic Cooper) saves him and begins to teach him about vampires. Lincoln pleads with him hoping that Henry would teach him the ways of a Vampire Hunter. Henry begins to train him, even though he is reluctant to. He explains how the life of a hunter is not one of luxury, and that with it you should not have friends or family. Lincoln agrees to all of it, but deep down he was only saying what Henry wanted to hear as all he wanted was to kill the vampire responsible for his mother's death.
Lincoln heads to Springfield after being trained for some extended period of time where he gets some lowly job to keep him there while at night, he hunts vampires in the town. Despite Henry's instructions, Lincoln still manages to make friends with his boss Speed (Jimmi Simpson) and Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). They find him to be a bit shy and timid, but they see that he has a big heart. Slowly but surely, Lincoln begins to fall in love with Mary and eventually the two get married. In the meantime, Lincoln begins to test the waters in politics. He delves even further in it after he cannot defeat the leader of the vampires Adam (Rufus Sewell). Lincoln feels as if his words will be more effective in defeating the vampire menace then his axe. He puts his axe away in favor of politics, but quickly finds out that he will need to use both if he hopes to defeat Adam and his army.
Bekmambetov did a terrific job in his American directing debut on Wanted, and falls of a bit with this film. Abraham Lincoln was not bad by any terms, but could have been better. It failed due to his horrible pacing and the fact that it was incredibly cheesy and hard to take seriously. The fact that it was hard to take seriously compounded with the fact that the filmmakers behind the scenes took the direction of making it a very serious film, did not mesh well. Taking such a well known historical figure and making him out to be a Vampire Hunter has to be taken with some sort of humor. For instance, this movie felt very similar to Van Helsing starring Hugh Jackman awhile back, and even looked similar in terms of artistic direction but that film at least didn't take itself seriously. As for the acting, Benjamin Walker does a very good job in the main role of Abraham Lincoln. I heard of some other reviewers comparing him to a younger Liam Neeson, which I can definitely see. It pains me to know that he could have been playing the angel Micheal in Alex Proyas adaptation of the Paradise Lost poem from John Milton as it had so much potential. Dominic Cooper is very likable in the role of the mysterious Henry as his character is also the most interesting of the whole bunch. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is a fine actress who does what she can in a very underwhelming role. Rufus Sewell does a decent enough job in the role of Adam but in general he is not memorable, just like the rest of the movie. Overall, I would skip this movie and wait for it to come out on DVD.