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01 July 2012 @ 11:34 pm
Film Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter  
You have to give some credit to a movie that takes its ridiculous premise and really commits to it.


Based on the bestselling novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, this film gives you exactly what the title promises: America's 16th president slaying the undead.

The story begins when Abraham is a young boy and witnesses his mother being killed by the vampire Barts (a hilariously excellent Marton Czokas). Later as an adult, Abraham (Benjamin Walker who looks like the love child of Liam Neeson and Shia LeBoeuf) attempts to kill Barts, not realizing his undead status. He nearly gets killed himself before he's rescued by Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper), who agrees to train Abraham to be a vampire hunter in exchange for Abraham following Henry's rules precisely. The basic rules being that Abraham isn't allowed to have any friends or family and must only kill the vampires that Henry assigns him. And thus, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is born. While we're treated to various sequences of Abraham slaying vampires at Henry's behest, we also see the vampire Adam (Rufus Sewell) slowly putting together his nefarious plot to take America from the humans.

Slowly the film shifts gears into tying in Abraham's political career and his stance against slavery which puts him at odds with both a large vampire community (slaves are easy free food for them) as well as Henry, who claims keeping slaves is what's kept the vampires from running rampant all over the country. I actually found the moments when the movie tried to tie-in historical accuracy the dullest parts of the film. I don't go to see a movie titled Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and expect a biopic on Lincoln's life. I want to see gore and action stuff, which the film delivered admirably when it had to, as over the top as they were.

There were a couple of plot holes in the film but considering the premise, I'm not going to whinge on that. Overall, a very entertaining movie that really works once you just give in to the bizarre concept and let it take you. And now for the usual quickfire likes and dislikes.

Likes:

1. Leave shame and embarrassment at the door - again, this movie really took the premise and remained dedicated to it. The actors play it straight without any self-conscious referencing or any winking or nudging. It's a movie about Abraham Lincoln slaying vampires. Accept it.

2. Unexpected hilarity - while the premise is played straight, that doesn't mean the movie isn't intentionally funny in parts. Some of the line deliveries by Walker and Cooper were pitch perfect. I particularly liked Cooper's response to Mary Todd's comment about his cold hands at their wedding.

3. Costume love - I adored most of the costumes in this movie, particularly for the men. I know those sunglasses in the film served a practical purpose for the vampires, but it made everything look vaguely steampunk which I loved.

4. Ridiculous fights FTW! - I think the horse sequence with Barts and Abraham has to go down as one of the most over the top, amazing fight sequences ever. Seeing Barts and Abraham playing leap frog on the stampeding horses was one thing. But when Barts actually picked up a horse and threw it at Abraham, I was in love with the majestic WTF of it all.

Dislikes:

1. Henry Sturges' not so secret identity - there's a supposed reveal halfway through the film that Henry is actually a vampire himself. However, considering the second time we meet him he manages to punch a guy up and through a barn, I'd assumed he was a vampire and was confused when it was a shocking realization for Abraham.

2. How conveeeeeeenient - in this universe, vampires cannot kill other vampires. It's just a rule. Henry tries to stab Adam shortly after being turned by Adam but it looks like there's literally a force field around Adam. I guess this is in here to explain why Henry recruits humans to become vampire hunters since he can't do it himself. But apparently vampires can beat the hell out of each other. That just seems so selective.

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