Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
You hear that there's a movie called 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' and you might think, assuming you haven't read author Seth Grahame-Smith's graphic novel, that Abraham Lincoln twirling a silver coated ax like a halftime baton twirler while doing kung-fu, that this is some kind of wacky comedy.  A farce.  A silly good time.  That's not what you're getting with 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter', a film which takes it's mythos of our sixteenth president deadly serious.  Deadly serious.  Saving Private Ryan was a barrel of laughs by comparison.  Well, maybe it wasn't that serious but while Timur Bekmambetov's film had its fun moments, I'm thinking a lighter touch might've made for a more enjoyable film.

Born in 1809 in a log cabin, it was tough for young Abe Lincoln, considering his mother died when Abe was just nine, of typhus or something.  Uh… no.  Vampires killed Nancy Lincoln.  Totally, it was vampires.  Actually it was the cur known as Jack Barts (Martin Csokas) that young Abe saw kill his old lady, unawares that vampires even existed, but he has sworn to kill this man the moment he becomes of age.

Sure enough, years pass, now of age and looking like actor Benjamin Walker, Abe confronts Jack Barts and dang if a bullet to the head doesn't kill this dude.  Mainly because he's a vampire and stuff.  In fact if it wasn't for the righteous Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper) looking out for young Abe, he would've been a tasty snack for Jack Barts.  Sturges gives Abe the 411, that vampires are real and they need to be dealt with, and if he wants to eventually get around to killing Jack Barts he will need to be trained in the ways of the vampire hunter.
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So Sturges sends his freshly trained vampire killer on his way, has him set up shop in a small town, gives him a few rules such as don't make any friends or acquaintances because they will be used against him, and he gives him a list of vampires to slay, a task Abe dutifully and violently fulfills.  However, by 'make no friends' Abe must have heard 'fall in love', 'make all kinds of friends' and 'run for office' because that's what he did.  He meets the love of life Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winsted), reconnects with his old friend Will (Anthony Mackie), makes a brand new friend in Speed (Jimmi Simpson) and through a series of convoluted events, the three will attempt to end the vampire menace by taking down the chief vampire Adam (Rufus Sewell).  Sturges won't be as much help in this task as he has a little something he's been keeping from young Abe.

While Abe would like nothing better than to end the terror of through violent means, he has determined his oratorical skills and political ambitions are the best way to stop the vampires.  Say what?  Vampires… Confederacy.  Jefferson Davis was a freaking vampire.  I knew it!  Where you thought slaves were cheap labor, they were really just a tasty and relatively inexpensive food source for vampires.  And where you though The Civil War was a battle over slavery, among other things, it was really just the Union trying to stop the Vamps from killing us all.  Emancipate This Vampire scum!

Even though I had read some things that were not very flattering towards Mr. Bekmambetov's film 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter', it's not that bad really and if you release yourself to it… meaning giving up any historical notion you might've had about Abraham Lincoln since everything in this great man's life has been skewed towards vampirism in some way… but this is kind of a fun movie with all the explosions and kung fu fighting and twirling axes and whatnot.  But like I mentioned earlier, it just takes itself so darn serious.  Why so serious, man?  Not that we're saying 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer' should be a comedy or anything, but just a lighter touch might've gone a long way. 

 The performances were okay given what the actors  were given to work with, problem being that almost all of characters were even less two-dimensional from the graphic pages from where they sprung, including Benjamin Walker's turns as Abraham Lincoln which felt uninspired at best, stilted at worst.  But my man sure can twirl an ax, that's for sure.  The lovely Mary Elizabeth Winsted actually did a little better with Mary Todd, delivering a little more depth to her character than her counterparts, even delivering hotness to Miss Mary which history tells us that she was anything but… movies making history better… however the acting performances wouldn't be a reason to watch this movie.

No, the reason to watch 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' would be action, kung fu Abe fighting Kung Fu Adam the Vampire, a completely ridiculous but spectacular sequence on the train with everything on ablaze, Abe and his buddy Will in complete ax wielding, vampire murdering synchronicity, and some of the lamest, most easily disposed of vampires cinema has ever seen.  You would think something that is super strong, super fast, that can turn invisible at a whim, and invulnerable to everything except silver… I did like the reason given why silver is bad for these dudes… but these creatures went down as easy as a flimsy deck of cards in a stiff breeze.

I didn't love 'Vampire Hunter', being as it was a bit overblown, over serious, on top of being completely nonsensical, but there is still some solid entertainment value to be had here.  You just have to release yourself to it.
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