Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

One night, a young Abraham Lincoln witnesses the sudden death of his mother. At first, poison is ruled as the direct cause of Nancy’s (Abe’s mother) death, but Abraham knows the real truth: His mother was murdered by a sneaky vampire named Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). Now a full grown man, Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) is consumed by vengeance. He wants to track down and kill Jack Barts, but the vampire epidemic isn’t limited to just one man. With an axe, and the help of Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), Lincoln vows to dedicate his life to vampire hunting.

Lincoln dedicates his life to the extermination of all vampires, but as time passes, Mr. Lincoln begins to show interest in politics and government. Abraham Linclon will have to balance his duties as the President, and manage the viscous Civil War. Also, Lincoln must look after his wife, Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), and his son, William Wallace (Cameron M. Brown). But Lincoln can’t escape his past as a vampire hunter. Vampires have joined the Confederate army, and the South quickly gains a strong and unstoppable upper hand. Lincoln holds the outcome of the war and the fate of the country in his hands, and with the help of some trusted friends, Lincoln will have to stop the vampire uprising.

First of all, you shouldn’t take this film too seriously. If you do, you will hate Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter with a burning passion. This movie is about a former President, who lives a secret life as a vampire hunter. You shouldn’t expect some sort of accurate biopic, and you won’t learn any new facts about Abraham Lincoln here.

Tim Burton’s presence as a producer automatically drew me to this one, but I also enjoy Timur Bekmambetov’s work (Bekmambetov is the director for this film). He is the same man, who directed Wanted. Also, he co-wrote the screenplays for Night Watch and Day Watch, and Bekmambetov directed both films. Night Watch and Day Watch are two unique vampire films, that provide a fantastic mix of horror, action, and fantasy; Easily two of my favorite vampire flicks. The story for both films can feel like a mess at times, but Night Watch and Day Watch will give you one hell of a ride. Anyway, I usually enjoy Bekmambetov’s stylish directing, and he didn’t disappoint me here.

Bekmambetov provided the essential gloomy, haunting atmosphere for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, while capturing the essence of the 1800’s. The action sequences were slick and smooth, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is loaded with some impressive visuals.

Bekmambetov has received a lot of harsh treatment from a good amount of critics, but for me, his directing was the major highlight of this film.

I enjoyed Bekmambetov’s directing, but I can’t ignore the confusing storyline, especially towards the end.


Okay, so we’re in the final stages (or third act) of the film, and Abraham Lincoln has become an older man. He’s trying to focus on his duties as President, the war, and vampires. Lincoln is the President, and his friends become members of his cabinet? William Johnson (Anthony Mackie) is Lincoln’s childhood friend, and Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson) is a shopkeeper, who gave Lincoln a home during some rough times in his life. I can understand the friendship connection, but how did William and Joshua become members of his cabinet? Do they have official job titles? The story NEVER explains any of this, and I couldn’t overlook these crucial details.

Also, when did Abe become President? The story makes this abrupt transition from Lincoln’s vampire hunting days to his time as President, and they never provide any important details, as Lincoln rose to the top. One day, Lincoln gives a few speeches about government and change to random crowds, and then BAM! He just becomes President out of nowhere? I felt lost and confused towards the end, and the obvious plot holes can be a real problem.
**End spoilers**

The plot holes create some noticeable weaknesses here, and one VERY important detail did bother me.



Unless I’m missing some details in vampire mythology, the blood-suckers shouldn’t be able to survive in sunlight, right? Well, the vampires in ALVH can survive in sunlight, but how is that possible? Do you know the answers? Because ALVH didn’t give me an explanation for vampires survival in the sun. Lincoln hints at vampires learning to adapt in sunlight, but still, he didn’t give a true explanation with any details. Along with stakes to the heart, sunlight is a vampires worst enemy. I’m sorry, but if you’re going to have vampires survive in sunlight, then you need to give some sort of detailed explanation.
**End spoilers**

ALVH can feel confusing at times, and this film leaves the audience with some big unanswered questions…..but I still enjoyed this one for the most part. Yeah, ALVH does have some problems, but I loved the action scenes here. Walker is believable as a skilled and fearless vampire hunter. Hell, the best scenes in this film showcase his vampire hunting skills, as Abe Lincoln dismembers and slices vampires with an axe. The stylish action and gore provided some excellent thrills, and the gruesome beheadings (which look unreal in 3D by the way) were just amazing. Benjamin Walker was a solid leading man, Mary Elizabeth Winstead was a nice addition to the cast, and this film featured a good set of enjoyable performances. The 3D effects impressed me, and the final showdown provided some great excitement.

ALVH could’ve been better, and this film won’t set the bar for vampire flicks, but you can have a good time with this one. Just remember, try to have fun, and please, don’t take this too seriously, or you will be disappointed.

Final Rating: 6/10

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