Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being good and 5, being epic!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – 3 out of 5

Boy, our 16th President sure had an interesting life! He had a beard, wore a ridiculous hat, hunted vampires and was assassinated by a male model when visiting the theater.

But why male models?

Boy, the cash I would give to see that blown up by
some sort of aliens from space on a national holiday.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is exactly what it sounds like; a historical drama of Lincoln’s hardships as president as he attempts to end slavery and the Civil War—ah, I’m just yanking your crank, it’s about the President kicking some blood-sucker ass! The film opens with Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) losing his mother and, while on a quest for revenge, discovers vampires are real and begins training with a mysterious man named Henry (Dominic Cooper) to learn how to deliver deadly justice to the pointy-teeth losers. As time passes, Lincoln decides to get into politics to stop slavery thanks to inspiration from his boyhood friend; Will Johnson (Anthony Mackie). On his way to the White House, Abe falls in love with the woman who will become his wife (lucky for him. It would be awful if he fell in love with someone who would go on to be his EX-wife); Mary Todd Lincoln (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). By the time he becomes the President and is trying to stop the war, it seems that his past of hunting vamps is over but the Confederates decide to forge an unholy alliance with Satan’s legions and Abe is forced to pick up his axe and deal out hunt again!

I suddenly have the urge to fight 7 evil exes...

"I hope someday my vampire killing exploits gets me
on a Silver Dollar and not a Copper Penny."
I never read the book which this film is based on because, let’s face it, it’s just a work of exploitation fan-fiction that was luckily enough to get published thanks to the fact that the concept of vampires and the idea of them being hunted by the man on our pennies and our five dollar bills doesn't have a copyright. I’ll be honest, I found the concept to be as silly as putting zombies in a Jane Austen novel (shit, they actually did that). I looked at it and said, “Wow, they are not even trying to cover up the blatant idea that this was created solely to cash in on the vampire craze.” That being said, I decided to watch the movie because 1) I love movies and 2) this one looked silly enough to be entertaining with a potential to be a kick-ass popcorn action film.

"I just woke up...let's film this shit!"

Once you get beyond the absolutely silly concept (and let’s be honest, there’s no way we can take this one seriously and this is coming from a guy who thinks Planet of the Apes is a brilliant piece of Sci-fi), Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter isn’t a bad movie. The movie tells a decent fictionalized story of arguably one of the best presidents our country has had, albeit a very silly story. The film also does a tremendous job with creating a dark tone throughout the film and it is echoed through the overall presentation of the movie. However, this film did have a lot of set-backs that keep it from being a truly great action film and keeps it at bay in the “meh” realm of action films.

Coming next...Thomas Jefferson:  Zombie Slayer and William Taft:  Donut Destroyer.

First off, the film does a terrible job at making the vampires decent villains. While the vampires look cool, there’s very little menace to them and things aren’t helped when the granddaddy of all the vamps isn’t developed…well…at all. Adam (yeah, that’s the bad vamp’s name) is merely stated to be a badass of vampires but very little is SHOWN to make him a badass. Even in the film’s climax when Abe and Sam engage in their epic showdown, Adam kinda comes off as a puss and doesn’t do much other than kick out some 2x4’s on a wooden bridge.

"I'm totally a really bad guy...I'll tell you again if it helps convince you."

And speaking of wood…

This movie really likes exploding lumber. Anytime someone comes into contact with wood, even at mild speeds, the wood would explode into a million splinters to rain down on the action taking place. Seriously, if there was a fetish for such a thing (and with the invention of the internet, I almost guarantee there is), this would be the movie to watch to get your rocks off until you are sore and dehydrated.

That is an orgy of exploding wood.

Back to the vamps again…

The beginning of the film (when Abe shockingly finds out there are vampires and, actually, reacts quite calmly to such earth-shattering information) we learn that vampires are strong, fast and have the ability to make themselves invisible. Sounds pretty cool, right? Too bad the film failed to fully embrace and utilize this fact. The invisibility thing comes into play a few times but each time a blood-sucker goes see-through, they materialize directly in front of Abe or whoever is fighting them. They don’t, for the sake of argument, appear from behind or, being vampires and all, leap high in the air and rain death down from above.

Lincoln apparently was friends with a McPoyle.

This misuse of invisibility can be forgiven but the waste of their superhuman speed and strength being wasted can’t. How is it wasted? In the fact that it seems regular old humans can be just as strong and fast as they are if they really wanted to (so the question has to be asked: What exactly is the upside to being a vampire? Does blood taste that good?). For example, Abe literally cuts cleanly through a cut with his axe and, at one point, catches a horse thrown at him by a vampire. Okay, I may have exaggerated that last one a little and he caught a horse in the chest and rolled with the impact to end up riding the stead but that doesn’t change the fact that Abe clearly is from Krypton because the equestrian didn’t fucking crush him! This causes the film to have no real threat level to the vampires and leaves the film with a severe lack of dramatic tension. All heroes need to be weaker than their enemy—whether it be from sheer numbers or their own physical weaknesses—so when you’re hero is just as powerful as the vampires he’s hunting without their drawbacks (like an unquenchable thirst for human blood), what’s the point? The film is literally giving you reasons to NOT care about the outcome of the fight—but I guess that’s why they threw in the fact that the vampires sided with the Confederates to try and take over the country. And with that, the filmmakers clap their hands and say, “Problem solved!”

"Allow me to catch this horse with my face!"

"Twirling the axe helps me kill the vampires faster."
All complaints aside, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a mildly entertaining action film that doesn’t live up to the potential to be a great, fun (despite the silliness), exploitation film meant to cash in on the vampire obsession our country is currently going through. And the film already gets points from the fact the vampires DON’T sparkle and this was made from people who want to see vamps slaughters and not overcome with a desire to make out with them. Sure the movie has its problems and our lead actor Benjamin Walker looks like a Liam Neeson clone without the acting ability and comes off flat in his performance as our 16th President but he does his job just adequately enough to keep the movie from being a total wash. If the filmmakers threw in a few more action sequences and worked on making the film’s villain an actually menace, the movie could have become a guilty pleasure that is fun to watch despite the fact it is, in reality, a completely stupid idea.

At the very least, they could have shown when the male model that is John Wilkes Booth assassinate him.


  1. Good review and I agree with you on several key points. I don't know if I agree with the rading. I think a 4 would have been my overall rating. But I can understand the reasons behind the rating you gave the movie. It's a modern day B horror movie. It was never meant to be an epic oscar winning movie. Keeping that in mind it's great for what it supposed ot be.

    1. Yeah...4 would have been waaaayyyy too generous, in my opinion.


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