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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter


ALVH poster

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a story so farfetched I simply had to watch it. Critics and audiences alike lambasted this film for just not being very good, so naturally my curiosity was piqued. For me, it falls in the same category as John Carter, not as atrocious as everyone would have you think, but not good by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just another in the long list of forgettable action/fantasy films.

Grade:

D+

Timur Bekmambetov adapts this graphic novel in a way that has become his signature. There is a distinct absence of light in Timur’s films that include Wanted and Night Watch (Russia). AL:VH is no different. For Night Watch and AL:VH, it makes more sense since these films deal with the supernatural, especially vampires, obviously.

Really, though, AL:VH has two things going for it: Anthony Mackie and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Neither one is especially great here, but I like them both so it kept me going. Newcomer—to me at least—Benjamin Walker takes on the challenge of portraying our beloved sixteenth president and does an admirable job, showcasing the poise and confidence you’d expect Lincoln to exude. (Note: I haven’t seen the “good” Lincoln yet, but I will.)

ALVH 1

The vampires, particularly Dominic Cooper and Rufus Sewell, end up being somewhat lame as the mentor/assistant and villain, respectively. Sewell is especially dull because the story never lets him become a villain; he just is from start to finish.

The movie has trouble combining the fantasy with the reality, as the Civil War is uncomfortably thrown into the story and edged in as the climax, despite an odd fit; it’s a square peg being forced into the circle’s spot. Further complicating matters is the noticeable (read: bad) makeup on the characters. Walker is caked in makeup in the beginning even when he is supposedly using his own face. Later on when he is 50-year-old Abraham, the makeup is even worse and really dispels any shred of the notion of believability.

ALVH 2

That being said, the action is fairly well executed. It’s nothing mind-blowing, but the fight scenes here are exactly what you’d expect from the man behind Wanted. Personally, if I knew a man running for president could wield an axe like that I’d give him my vote.

I think AL:VH serves as an agreeable Saturday-night-in type movie. You’ll sit around with some alcohol, popcorn, and some friends to mock the events on screen and if you get distracted, you won’t miss much. It’s nothing special by any means, but I don’t think it’s worth such fervent vitriol.

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  1. Well, I at least agree it’s not worthy of vitriol, but I really enjoyed it in the theater. I didn’t expect some fantastic story, so I pretty much got what I expected. It’s as straight-forward as it can get, really. I laughed a lot, like when he cut a tree in half with one super axe swing filled with rage. That’s why I like Bekmambetov…his movies are crazy.

    • I think the trouble came from a pretty mediocre start. Then it started to take itself less seriously and I actually liked it more. But agreed on Bekmambetov. He’s got one crazy vision.

      • Yep. One of my favorite Bekmambetov moments is in Night Watch, I think, when the dude stands there as the train slams right into him. It’s been a while, but I think that’s how it went down. All I really ask for with these kinds of movies is that the internal logic makes sense.

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