Reviewbr> "A man only drinks like that when he's planning to kiss a girl or kill a man. Which is it?" - Henry Sturgess
Abe Lincoln as a boy witnesses a small measure of the treatment of slaves and more impactful the death of his mother at the hands and teeth of Jack Barts. His father ensures he gets a promise from Abe that the boy won't do anything stupid. Abe as a young man drops into a tavern to get some Dutch courage up prior to seeking his revenge against Barts, he meets Henry Sturgess. Abe duly confronts Barts and shots him in the head. Unfortunately Barts is a vampire and Abe only survives due to the intervention of Sturgess in timely fashion.
Turns out Sturgess has his Winchester on and is a vampire hunter. He takes the young Abe Lincoln under his wing and teaches him how to kill vampires. In due course Abe is dispatched to Springfield to sort out a vampire infestation but decides that the word is mightier than the axe, his preferred weapon of choice, and enters politics rising to the position of President. With the South infested with vampires it's only a matter of time before the undead enter the Civil War and look to have turned the tide the South's way. All roads lead to Gettysburg with Prez Abe launching an outrageous plan to defeat his mortal enemies on the battlefield.
When the title is something like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter you just know you're in for a good time, especially if the Director is Timur Bekmambetov who delivered Night Shift and Day Shift previously. And the movie doesn't disappoint, were talking kinetic action sequences that will have you gripping your popcorn, vampires doing the nasty, and a film that simply revels in it's ludicrous plot. As opposed to what many are saying Abe Lincoln doesn't take itself overly seriously but simply explodes into almost comic book farce that should have most dark genre fans grinning from ear to ear. I had a hoot with it and was cheering the Prez on as he took down vampers left, right, and center. For mine best use of an axe ever in a horror movie!
I'm not going to comment on the historic accuracy of the movie, if we forget for the moment it has vampires happening. There are some seriously good Lincoln speeches being delivered, the emancipation of the slaves in the North thing, and of course the whole civil war that tore the U.S apart. Seemed pretty close, but having said that I'm no American history expert.
The movie doesn't do anything other than seeking to entertain the intended audience.
One of the things I was slightly concerned about going in was the depiction of the undead bloodsuckers, given recent Boredwood creations. My fears proved groundless however as we get lethal predators with a hunger for victims. So no we didn't get emo sparkling dick suckers, but I must admit we didn't quite get to the level of say 30 Days of Night in terms of viciousness. There's some toying with the mythos, vampires are all day walkers for example, but by and large fans of the sub-genre will be happy with the end results. I should mention of course the religious and sexual angles don't come into play.
Guess the gorehounds amongst us are going to be disappointed as we don't exactly get throats ripped open, guts flying, or anything else approaching blood lust going down. Most of the deaths are off screen but Abe helps out with some serious beheadings going down.
Overall the aesthetics show a combination of Director Bekmambetov's fantasy outlook and Producer Tim Burton's surreal vision. One of the problems I did find with the movie was the slightly unreal backdrops that harkened back to the days when painted canvas was used to evoke scenery. It took me a while to get on board the concept, but didn't take me out of the movie at any stage. I must have got my groove on however as I really did rock out to the train on the bridge scene that showed a solid understanding of how to get the scenery working with fast and furious action. The movie never quite gets to the epic quality it may have wanted to inspire, don't expect Lord of the Rings here, but equally it's never going to be confused with an intimate flick.
I had a similar issue with some of the special effects, all computer generated, especially during the horse stampede scene, they were noticeable with post production failing to hide the seams. A hell of a lot more attention should have been paid to post production editing for mine, as this is a real let down in the finished movie.
The acting is pretty solid from the whole cast with Benjamin Walker in particular impressing with a believable portrayal of one of the greatest of American Presidents. Director Bekmambetov gets the best out of a cast that doesn't feature any super stars, and makes this a real strength of his vision.
Speaking of the Director, Belmambetov makes Abe Lincoln his movie in the face of what could have been a Tim Burton overload. We get fast and slow mo, pretty audacious action scenes, and the embedding of strong horror elements that don't completely submerge the story line. The Russian Director can keep throwing this stuff at me all day long to be honest.
So I had a weekday surprisingly and with another member of the team got the chance to hit our local cinema for some quality dark genre movie time. And thanks to the accounts department for ensuring we got large coke slushies with buckets of popcorn to keep the wolf from the door. I was expecting a "B" movie experience so didn't go in with high expectations of a classic horror flick in the offering. What I did get was a fun movie that wallowed in its absurdity while delivering an entertaining couple of hours. If after a flick that simply wants to turn your frown upside down, then check out Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, you'll have your groove on by the end credits.