Writer: Naseem RandhawaWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Van Helsing”, "Dark Shadows" & "Wanted"
Will the real Abraham Lincoln, please stand up? It seems that history, or rather his story that many may think they know is a double edged sword (or axe) where only a fraction of it has made been made known to the public, or that's at least what "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" wants you to think.
Sure the gimmicky sounding B-grade movie title may have garnered ridicule and chuckles during its trailer runs, however the account of the 16th President of the United States of America who led part of his life in secret as a ruthless vampire hunter is anything but an intended joke or a satirical take (in case you're wondering).
The movie in parts could be regarded as a skimmed biopic of Abraham Lincoln from his youth to his rise to the presidency, however with vampire elements splattered across the important points of his life which fueled his actions that shaped history today, especially through the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation (freedom of slaves).
Played by Benjamin Walker, a fairly fresh actor who has had some supporting roles but no stranger to playing a president (Walker played the 7th President of the United States Andrew Jackson in the Broadway play "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson"), does quite resemble Lincoln thanks to the prosthetics developed by the team behind "The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button". His demeanor and speech is very convincingly Honest Abe, which is perhaps why the producers selected him in the first place over Eric Bana, Josh Lucas, Adrien Brody and James D'Arcy. An unfamiliar face who can carry the role well and make us believe that it's not an actor on-screen but the president himself, was staying on the right track all while exuding an air of superhero quality armed with an axe and a de-facto cape; his swishing coat.
Playing his wife Mary Todd Lincoln is Mary Elizabeth Winstead ("The Thing") who is undeniably beautiful on-screen; however it seems that her chemistry with Lincoln seems like a short-lived monopoly game zooming pass the stops too briefly in aiming towards the end. The other characters; Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper), William Johnson (Anthony Mackie) and Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson) as Lincoln's mentor, friend and assistant respectively, fall short in making an impact with their brief appearances in the movie. Their roles were certainly more justified with their backstory in the novel, but it certainly feels under developed here, but hey, how much can all of that fit into a 105 minute film? It is Lincoln's story after all, letting the main man shine is what's more important.
Adapted from the mash-up novel of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith who first got the idea after noticing the "Twilight" novels placed next to biographies of Abraham Lincoln in bookstores during his American book tour for "Pride And Prejudice And Zombies", one can fundamentally get an idea that the author is no fan of sparkly vampires. Thus the fanged creatures in the movie are not depicted as mysterious seductive beings of Anne Rice opulence, but more towards conniving humans who are capable to transform into grotesque savage-like blood lusting creatures, a stark contrast to Grahame-Smith's last vampire movie "Dark Shadows" (he wrote the screenplay for Tim Burton), where Johnny Depp played the pale yet handsome vampire Barnabas.
Produced by Tim Burton ("Dark Shadows") and Russian-Kazakh Timur Bekmanbetov ("Wanted") who also serves as director, the movie is dark melancholy palette laced with action scenes so violently kick-ass that it's definitely unlike anything you've ever seen before and boy do these guys just love their slow motion effects placed in every possible opportunity in between ripping heads and swishing axes! The fight choreography are precise with precision frame-by-frame that the perfection achieved with the action only means that the plot has to fall below par, feeling more like a series of vignettes placed in chronological order to fit within the time limit.
If plain old political tales bore the hell out of you and you want some spice laced in your history, then "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" does not lack the bite, especially since its awesome effects deserves everything the 3D treatment has to offer. On a certain measure, audiences can enjoyably expect a different kind of cinematic adventure as its rather rare to see genres that are completely polar opposites brought together to create an interesting genre-bending piece. Unless of course, one takes the movie too seriously than they're recommended to or is a disgruntled Robert Pattinson fan.Cinema Online, 20 June 2012