Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter – Review
July 1, 2012 8 Comments
Review by FIlmFellaJames – 7/10
Revisit an alternative take on history like your on a roller-coaster in a ghost town during the reign of the 16th American president. Bask in the inventive and imaginative slow motion spectacle or shake your head in disgust as one of the greatest men in history is stripped back to reveal an altogether different hero? Which ever which way you cut it, this the latest offering from Russian visionary, Timur Bekmambetov will have you wondering whether it is ok to secretly love what you have just watched or hate it for all of the same reasons it is awesome.
The story quite simply follows the life of Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Walker, (or Liam Neeson from the past, the likeness is crazy) as a stock boy studying to be a lawyer with grand designs on politics all the while juggling a difficult night job as a vampire slayer.
Recruited and schooled by Henry Sturgess, Dominic Cooper, Abraham cultivates his axe wielding skill to great effect by lopping off vampire heads left right and centre as he forges a path towards the freedom of man.
Say what you like about this movies’ historical accuracy, barely any, and its brazen and often ludicrous action set pieces, you could either love or hate Timur’s latest. Having previously directed Nightwatch, Daywatch and Wanted, I suspected I would love this film and you know what? I fuckin did. As over the top slow motion madness goes, Timur is at the top of his game. The story may be a little mashed up, Seth Grahame-Smith writer of this and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (coming soon) pulls no punches when it comes to a half decent and inventive script surrounding the dynamics of the abolition of slavery and one of Americas finest presidents whilst at the same time weaving a somewhat believable narrative involving the emergence and rise of the vampire.
I enjoyed the ride, gotta be honest. I thought Liam Neeson junior, Benjamin Walker, as Abraham was well cast, he pulled off the look and delivered an Abraham Lincoln that perhaps the real Lincoln would have liked, after all he was fond of theatre, a love that eventually put him in harms way. I thought the supporting cast of Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lincoln’s wife and Anthony Mackie as his best friend Will Johnson worked well within the parameters of the story and everyone else particularly the villains, Rufus Sewell and Marton Csokas, did a superb job. All of the cast were as convincing as the world that it was set in making this a very well rounded popcorn-tastic Friday night cinema flick.
There are numerous action set pieces but two that stood out in particular. The first being when Abraham has a punch up in the middle of a horse stampede with the vampire that killed his mother, Marton Csokas. This one took my breath away. It was fast paced and one of the most ludicrously over the top chase sequences since the Matrix Reloaded motorway scene. If the Matrix was set in the past, it would have looked like this. Its so nuts, its just goddam super. The second scene involves fending off a vampire attack while aboard a train, a 50 year old Lincoln showing he still got skills that thrills, buddying up with his best pal back to back aboard a rampaging train while its travelling over a burning bridge. Good grief, its stone cold awesome.
As far as the rest of the film is concerned, the world of Abraham Lincoln is beautifully realised with a particularly stunning de-rendering of the white house as we are teleported back in time to the very beginning of Abraham’s story. Genius. In fact the film has touches of genius throughout, too numerous to gloss over in this review.
Many critics have panned this film, but I don’t get why. It is a camp, tongue in cheek swipe at the formulaic nature of historical films since made in that it embodies the essence of making a history film more 21st century. It may have its critics out there but if you allow yourself to just go with it, you might just have a good time. I did and I would recommend this to anyone, so would Tim Burton (no relation, damn it.).