Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Movie Night – Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter on DVD

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by •October 23, 2012 •Movies & TVComments (0)271

YOUR CALL on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the action flick adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s genre-bending novel from director Timor Bekmambetov.

This film has an irresistible title like last year’s Cowboys & Aliens from Jan Favreu, and while it is not as bad as that convoluted star-studded mess, it ultimately falls short of its lofty promise.

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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
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The Lincoln of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (played by Benjamin Walker) is motivated by revenge.  He wants to kill the vampire who murdered his mother when he was a young boy.  He is aided/recruited to this task by the mysterious Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper), who seems to know a whole lot about killing vampires (most people figure out before the film’s reveal that that’s because Henry IS a vampire).  As he moves through history, we see that the essence of the real Lincoln is here – a man willing to preside over unspeakable violence in the name of liberty, justice and freedom.

With elements drawn from sources as diverse as Buffy The Vampire Slayer, The Patriot, the Gettysburg Address and The Matrix, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has some satisfying action sequences, including one particularly cool scene which takes place in the midst of a herd of stampeding horses.

Eventually, however, the Lincoln motif is the only original thing about this picture, and the film offers only a passing observance of real history, dropping names like Stephen Douglas, Joshua Speed and Harriet Tubman while not bothering to give these characters any context either in history or the story.  As a civil war movie, Glory is better.  As a vampire movie, From Dusk Til Dawn is better.

Walker plays Lincoln with a fine mix of reverential dignity and action-hero badassery, but none of the other characters stand out.  Mary Elizabeth Winstead seems like window dressing as Mary Todd, none of the vampire villains (Rufus Sewell, Marton Csokas, Erin Wasson) are at all memorable.  Ditto Lincoln’s battle buddies (Cooper, Anthony Mackie and Jimmi Simpson).

Winstead & Cooper as Todd and Lincoln
Benjamin Walker, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
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What we’re left with is yet another supernatural action flick, with a novel setting and historically luminescent lead character.  To the film’s credit, by the ending, what shines through is that Lincoln was great not because of his prowess with an axe, but because he was Lincoln, and perhaps the picture didn’t entirely miss the point after all.  But to get there, you have to be willing to sit through 105 minutes of garden-variety action movie, and unless you’re a hard-core fan of the genre, the price may be too high.

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