Director: Timur Bekmambetov
MPAA Rating: R
Film Pulse Score: 6/10
It hit me while watching Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter that there are countless movies that alter history or change stories that we have come to know and love. This movie is along the lines of Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds and Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, only in the fact they present us a different, altered history; one that isn’t taught in high school history classes. Based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel of the same name, this movie portrays Abraham Lincoln not only as the father of abolishing slavery, but you guessed it, a vampire hunter.
After witnessing his mother slowly die from a vampire bite, Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) is determined to kill the man responsible, Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). Drunk and out of control, Lincoln attempts to shoot Barts but being that he is a vampire, proves to be somewhat difficult. Thankfully, Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) shows up to save the day and give the audience a taste of the supernatural. Training quickly begins after Lincoln agrees to hunt down vampires with Sturgess, using his vengeance for his mother’s death to forever haunt him and drive him forward.
The action sequences are pretty cool, but are nothing compared to director Timur Bekmambetov’s previous efforts, specifically Night Watch and even Wanted (to a certain extent). Where Night Watch effortlessly combined awesome graphics, cool ways to tell action, Abraham Lincoln relies heavily on close, shaky shots, a resulting side effect of having no idea what is going on. A specific scene where Lincoln and Barts are running on top of horses becomes more and more confusing as the horses and actors become more and more CG’d.
A good vampire movie should always have a great villain. Here, Rufus Sewell plays Adam, where all vampires come from. It’s a cliché name and story of where all vampires come from, but it’s not the only loose plot hole that Smith creates (he wrote the screenplay as well). Sewell doesn’t have the dripping bad guy ooze that is necessary in creating the uber bad guy, especially when he is supposed to basically be the ‘first’ vampire. He just kind of exists as a head honcho.
With all the hype this film had, the pre-production marketing was great, I mean, I’ve been excited about this movie for a really long time, but it definitely let me down. There has to be the understanding with the content and the creators, which is knowing exactly what it is you’re making. Going into a movie about Abraham Lincoln being a vampire hunter should have elicited a fully serious tone but this movie comes off like they weren’t sure what they wanted to do or say. All in all though, it was a ton of fun and I’ll probably see the sequel, that is, if they can survive what the critics are saying of this film.