October 28, 2012

Filthy Review - 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter'

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

The popular trend of mashing up historical figures, or literary ones, has never really appealed to me. It just never floated my boat, but that’s maybe because I read a very poor novel that mixed zombies into a great story and spoiled it. Actually, I had no time for them even before that. So, when Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter came along, I was torn. I never read the novel, which Seth Grahame-Smith adapted the screenplay from his book, but at the back of my mind I was thinking “here we go again”. On the flipside, the film is produced by Tim Burton and directed by Timur Bekmambetov; both of whom I have a lot of time for. Which side would win out?

The plot starts in Abraham Lincoln’s early years, in fact going back to his childhood, when his father is fired and mother is killed. As the years go by honest Abe is fuelled by a deep-rooted need for vengeance against the fella that killed his Ma. Unbeknownst to him though the killer is indeed a vampire; well he had to be, right?

Coming to Abraham’s rescue, so to speak, is Henry Sturges, a man who informs him that vampires are real. Begrudgingly, Struges agrees to train Abraham in the methods needed to dispatch the undead, and so begins Abraham Lincoln’s quest to rid the Union of all things vampiric.

It’s a straightforward, and fairly run-of-the-mill, plot if the truth be known, but it is also one that is entertaining to follow. Historical events are blended into the fictional elements and as such work very well.

The real strength of the film though is the lead performance by Benjamin Walker, who is just terrific to watch as Lincoln, and also the visual style of Bekmambetov; this is great looking movie, and is further enhanced on Blu-ray. These two factors alone helped me suspend my disbelief, and also helped me overlook some of the film’s weaker sections; which is really the entire latter half of the film.

For the first hour or so, when Abe is kicking ass, the film zips along and is great eye candy. However, when the beard appears on Lincoln’s face the film seemed to lose a fair amount of its momentum, only to get back up to speed for the rousing finale. As such I found this a little disappointing, as up until then I really thought I was on to a winner. As it stands though I can only give this film a half-hearted recommendation.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a slick, good looking film that serves well as the sort of movie you can stick on with a group of friends. Like I said; it’s eye-candy and a good old-fashioned action-filled romp. If you can get through the slower latter half, you may well find yourself enjoying it too. Not perfect, yet still entertaining, and the Blu-ray comes with a good few extras too, including a Blu-ray exclusive Graphic Novel entitled The Great Calamity.

I'm still not completely won over by these mash-ups of monsters and historical figures, but this film went some way towards my developing a bit more appreciation of them.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is available now on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD from 20th Century Fox.

1 comment:

Caroline said...

Thank you for the review! I've been contemplating renting this movie for a while now, so I appreciate the run down. The popular trend of mashing up historical figures was never really appealing to me either, so that's why I decided to skip this one in theaters. It sounds like it does have a little bit going for it based on what you're saying though, so I'll give it a shot and rent it with my Blockbuster @Home package. I'll add the Blu-ray version to the top of my queue, and see how I feel about it in the next couple of days. Out of the few coworkers of mine at DISH who have seen this film, they agree with you about it being a good looking movie, so if anything I am looking forward to that part. :)