Review: Abraham Lincoln: Vamipre Hunter

What can you say about a movie whose plot is that the 16th President of the U.S.A. actually had a secret life seeking out and destroying vampires? Well, how about this: If you’re looking for a historically accurate film about the abolition of slavery, this isn’t it. However, if you fancy seeing some hyper stylised dismemberment of pointy-toothed demons, this is the film for you!

This is probably going to be the first in a line of films adapted from the increasingly popular genre of mashup novels including titles such as Robinson Crusoe (The Eerie Adventures Of The Lycanthrope) and Pride And Predjudice And Zombies.

As it stands this isn’t a great film in the slightest, I would hope the novel reads better than the script plays out on-screen. At times, especially at the very beginning of the film, the dialogue seems very rushed, as if to fast forward through the major plot points so there can be a slow motion, physically impossible fight scene. Though as the screenplay is written by Seth Grahame-Smith (the novel’s author), it seems doubtful.

Then there are the fight scenes themselves which contain more CG than you can shake a stick at which lessens their effect. One scene that falls flat on its face is a fight during a stampede of horses which sees Lincoln and a vampire going toe to toe in the nidst of the worst looking CG horses ever. They bound from horse to horse while taking swings at each other with fists axes and, in one case, one of the horses itself. At least they weren’t filmed in the shaky, jump cut style of other action films, like Transformers though.

Director, Timur Bekmambetov, certainly has a visual style of his own and has directed vampiric action films before (Nightwatch and Daywatch as well as Wanted). The design of the vampires is fairly subtle and is a relief compared to the recent romanticised versions of the undead. the scenery, props and costumes are all pretty good and the actors don’t do a bad job with the ham-fisted script, with the notable exception of Dominic Cooper, who occasionally dials it up a notch to remind you you’re watching a B-movie.

In fact the lead actor, Benjamin Walker, doesn’t do a bad job for someone with so little experience under his belt, however his supporting cast do a lot to help him. Cooper and Rufus Sewell give the cast some heft while turning in larger than life performances as Lincoln’s mentor and the leader of the vampires, respectively.

However bad all the ingredients that have gone into this film could have made it, it actually isn’t that bad. In fact it’s a very enjoyable romp through a fantasy dimension where Abraham Lincoln did, in fact, slay vampires. It could have done with being paced a little more slowly and needed more money so that the effects looked better. It was a lot of fun though, I can’t wait to see which mashup novel is next in line for a big-sceen adaptation.

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