You say you already knew about how he freed the slaves, huh? What about how he killed the vampires?
Leading the charge in historical/horror mash-ups (with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies in development) is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, a film in which the title says it all. In it, we get to see young Abraham from a boy right up to the eve of his death, and somewhere along the way he picks up an axe and starts hacking away at the undead. I’m not sure the plot really needs any more explanation. Those familiar with American history will recognise events and circumstances now have a distinctly vampiric edge, and whilst the film is ridiculously silly, the execution is rather po-faced.
Timur Bekmambetov has probably directed his best film here. Whilst it’s by no means cinematic genius, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is certainly more consistent than previous efforts of his such as Wanted, Day Watch (Dnevnoy dozor) and Night Watch (Nochnoy dozor). Whenever proceedings slow down the film does start to feel like a shoddy made-for-TV historical recreation, but all the action scenes are masterfully executed with some stunning visual effects. Of course, it never looks real, but that’s never been a concern of Bekmambetov’s, has it?
The film features some brilliant aging makeup (something Prometheus could learn from) though also some terrible fake beards, so it seems every silver lining has a cloud. There also some ridiculous styling in the form of Dominic Cooper, who plays Abraham’s mentor, Henry Sturges, and looks like a complete tool the entire time. Benjamin Walker puts in a decent performance as Lincoln (looking a lot like a young Liam Neeson), though unfortunately Mary Elizabeth Winstead doesn’t have much to do as Mary Todd Lincoln apart from hurl doe eyes in his direction. Rufus Sewell (Adam) looks evil, as per usual, whilst Marton Csokas (Jack Barts) continues to have the most incredible acting career in the world, despite not being a household name.
By no means a brilliant (or even particularly clever) film, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is devilishly entertaining and featured one particular action scene that was an entire periodic table of awesomeness. The 3D actually worked quite well because the film was deliberately over lit, whilst the sets, costumes and art design were sumptuously theatrical in their presentation. The slow motion action is balletic in execution and beautifully shot. If you leave common sense at the door, you’re in for a good time.Rating: