Movie Reviews

REVIEW – ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.’

4

Built on a bizarrely creative (and admittedly ridiculous) premise, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter tells the “true” story of the life and times of the young man who would become the 16th President of the United States, and the lifelong battle he waged against the forces of darkness that sought to enslave our country.

As a boy, Abraham Lincoln witnesses the murder of his mother at the hands of a prominent local businessman, and spends the entirety of his adolescence plotting his revenge. Unbeknownst to Lincoln, the man responsible for his mother’s death is a creature of the night, unable to be destroyed by conventional means, and a botched assassination attempt leaves the adult Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) barely escaping with his life thanks to Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), a wealthy eccentric with a passion for vampire slaying who agrees to pass along his knowledge and wisdom.

Armed with a silver-edged axe, Lincoln doles out justice in terrifically stylized fashion, assassinating vampiric bankers, shopkeepers, and politicians on his way to the top of the food chain, where Adam (Rufus Sewell) awaits on his lavish southern plantation. Along the way, Lincoln weds the gorgeous Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and establishes himself as a prominent voice in government, a path which will eventually lead to the White House, and a confrontation with a centuries-old secret that threatens to unravel the very fabric of the nation.

If everything up to this point sounds completely insane, that’s because it absolutely is, and we’ve only begun to scratch the surface. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is at its best when it revels in its goofiness, but finds itself bogged down when it attempts to take itself too seriously. If there’s one thing director Timur Bekmambetov can do, it’s put together a wildly inventive action sequence, and you’ll find them peppered throughout the entire experience, culminating in a jaw-dropping climax aboard a speeding train. But if you’re looking for nuance and subtlety in the narrative, you’ve wandered into the wrong film.

Walker has a commanding screen presence, and his best work comes during the film’s third act as the aging Lincoln copes with the death of his son and the exhaustion of fighting a war against his own countrymen. It’s a shame that the bulk of the film is focused on the character’s early years, as there’s something truly magnificent about watching the bearded and bespectacled President dispatching ravenous vampires with a razor-sharp instrument of death.

Unfortunately, the performance quality does not carry over to the supporting cast. Cooper finds himself somewhere between Jack Sparrow and Tony Stark, but without the charisma, and Sewell is little more than a caricature, a third-grader’s idea of what a villain should be. A lot of these issues could also be attributed to the screenplay by Seth Grahame-Smith, who frequently abandons the source material in favor of bland dialogue and non-existent character development.

As a pure popcorn movie, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter succeeds more often than it fails. It’s a silly idea that results in plenty of campy fun, but once the smoke clears and the excitement dies down, audiences will likely find themselves wanting more from the experience.

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4 Comments

  1. you put too much info for the reader to grasp & you give too much away… i havent been yet impressed with ur reviews. the reader mainly wants to know if the film is good or not. if your going to give stuff away alert the reader before they continue reading like other critics have “spoiler alert”

    1. If “the reader” only wants to know if the film is good or not, then perhaps “the reader” should only pay attention to the star rating at the top of each review. Here’s a hint: more stars = better film.

      Also, I’m not really sure why you would need a spoiler alert to know that this film is about Abraham Lincoln fighting vampires. Or maybe it comes as a surprise that he became President? I’m not quite sure what you’re basing this complaint on.

      Sorry I haven’t been able to impress you with my reviews. I feel an overwhelming sense of disappointment, as this is clear evidence of my failure in life. Whatever shall I do?

      If you aren’t a fan of my review style, you’ve got a very simple option – don’t read them.

      1. not refering to just this review but other reviews that have been posted. yes the stars are a great concept but the other reviews that ive read had given the entire movie. the pics are great and this is a good concept. Just thought i would give  an insight as i have noticed that their has been no comments in regards to the reviews on this page or on facebook. my intentions was to not upset you or lower your ego but let you be aware. any input or criticism can be taken as great criticism and changed to a learning experience. but as ive read to your response you are absolutely right and i will not follow your page and let others know as well. thank you for this experience and also a more professional response could have been great. ie “thank you for your input” “thats a different view from a reader”

        1. I think you’d be hard-pressed to sift through our catalog and find any review that “gives the entire movie.” While I understand that some people want to know as little as possible when going into the film, as someone who has obviously read a number of our reviews, you should know what to expect from the particular writing style we employ here.

          And you’re right, input from readers could potentially be taken as constructive criticism, but only when it’s delivered in a constructive manner. “I haven’t been impressed with your reviews” and “you put too much info” don’t exactly strike me as constructive statements – you’re basically saying that I’m wrong for not writing a review in the manner that you think it should be written.

          As far as the professionalism (or lack thereof) in my response, you can attribute that to the fact that I’m not a professional. I don’t get paid to do this. I run this site from the couch in my living room, while still juggling a full-time job and a number of other responsibilities. I’m here because I genuinely enjoy doing this.

          Had your original comment been more constructive and professional, you would’ve received an equally constructive and professional response. Instead of offering intelligent and informative criticism, you basically came out and said “you’re doing it wrong, do it like other critics.” The whole point of us being here is to do things the way WE want to do them, not the way other people are doing it.

          If that doesn’t work for you, I get it. But the fact that our site traffic continues to increase each month means that it’s obviously working for some people. And honestly, even if it wasn’t, we’d probably keep doing it anyway, because we like what we do.

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