Freed the slaves, led a nation through a war, hunts vampires, and has two movies coming out about him in the same year. What can this guy not do!
He freed the slaves and led the Northern states through America’s Civil War. His legacy as the greatest president of the United States endures to this day. But Abraham Lincoln’s life as the world’s greatest hunter of the undead remained a secret – until now.
You’re enjoyment level of this movie solely depends on if you are able to accept the potential idea of Honest Abe slaying vampires. If you can accept the goofiness and fun in that idea, then you will have fun here, but if you think it’s stupid and want a real biopic on the 16th president, then you may want to wait till December.
Going into this, you have to expect an insane amounts of wild and dumb stuff to happen, and that’s pretty much what Timur Bekmambetov delivers on, for the most part. I was a little worried that the tone of this film was going to be too serious for the source material, but it worked out fine just because Bekmambetov seems like he’s totally game for showing Honest Abe, wheeling an axe around and killing a bunch of blood-suckers. But while everything else is serious, the action sequences are totally over the top. In a good way, might I add.
There’s this one, really cool memorable sequence where it’s Abe facing off against his rival vampire that takes place among a CGI-horse stampede. It is probably one of the dumbest action sequences I have ever seen in any movie, strictly because it just defies the law of physics, but it’s so much fun and it’s also something I have never seen done before in a movie. Let alone, a movie about a former president of the United States. There’s also another memorable sequence by the end where it’s Abe facing off against a bunch of vampires on top of a locomotive train. Yes, we’ve all seen a bunch of action sequences/fights take place on top of trains while they’re moving, but there’s just something insane about the feel of this movie and it kept me going along for the ride. Sadly, that ride started and stopped way too many times for my liking.
As fun as this plot was, sometimes I felt like it could have been more of exactly that. Do we get Abe wielding an axe around and killing vampires? Yes, but did I want to see more ridiculous things go down rather than just another interpretation of Abe’s life, with the mix of vampires? Yes, of course. There were times where I really felt like this film delivered on it’s promise of being ludicrous and fun, but then there were times when the film just slowed down for me and got a little too serious for it’s own good. Maybe it wasn’t being too serious, maybe it was more just that the film decided to focus on Abe’s life too much and totally forget about the action parts in-between.
Another problem I had with this film was the way it looked. Thank the lord that I didn’t decide to see this in 3D because I would have probably been more mean to this movie in my review, and also would have felt like I just wasted 12 bucks that I’ll never, ever get back no matter how long I work the corner. Seriously, this film does look like shit and I think I made the right (“cheap”) decision in getting the regular, 2D tickets. This film just looks so dull, with it’s dark and eerie look to it that has it come off as a really, low-budget adaptation of the book. Also, every time a single person would throw a blow or wield in a weapon in a fight sequence, the slow-mo would kick in and this bothered me to high heavens. Does it look cool? Yes, but not all of the damn time. Take a page out of Zak Snyder’s book and realize that you can make an action scene look cool with slow-mo, but you just can’t do it every single action starts up. My humble advice: find the earliest showing at your theater, go to it, buy regular 2D tickets, sit at least 4 rows back, and enjoy. That’s what I did and it didn’t do so bad but it made me realize just how shitty everything in this film looked.
The whole time throughout this flick, I kept on watching Benjamin Walker play Abraham Lincoln and kept on thinking that he looks exactly like Liam Neeson. Well, the funny thing is that he did play a younger Liam Neeson in Kinsey, but that’s not to say that the dude doesn’t make a name for himself on his own terms. He has a likable presence where you feel like he could easily be the next president of the United States, even if he does have this dark secret behind him. Actually, I though Walker was at his best when the action scenes were going down because I thought he looked pretty damn bad-ass and also seemed a lot like what Lincoln would actually be like, had he have to fight off vampires all of the damn time. Not a star-making role by any means, but a good one that hopefully gets his name out there and farther away from Neeson’s.
Playing his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, Mary Elizabeth Winstead has some nice parts playing his strong-willed wife, but a lot of the other times she seems like she’s just there on-display and to give Abe a love interest. Well, a love interest that just so happened to be his wife of 20+ years but you know what I’m saying. She didn’t really mean much to this story. It was also cool to see Rufus Sewell playing yet again, another villain as Adam, the lead vampire that Abe despises the most. Sewell is obviously good in this role and definitely under-plays it well but starts to seem like less and less of a threat by the end of the film, mainly because it seems like every other vampire is after Abe’s neck.
Consensus: You’re enjoyment level of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, will most likely depend on whether or not you are able to accept that title and it’s wild premise, but if you can, it’s fun, crazy, filled with memorable action, and has a nice leading role from Benjamin Walker.