When I first saw the trailer I thought…wow! that’s utterly ridiculous and yet, it looks sort of fun. I was dead right (no pun intended). Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter ends up being a predictable, absurd narrative that happens to have some cool action sequences and some pretty solid acting. But, unfortunately the ridiculous overpowers the rest in the long run.
Trust me. I went into this completely aware of what I was getting myself into. And as you may know by now, I do not apologize for liking senseless violence and carnage, at times. And I know the genre may take it easy on plot and substance, but it usually makes up for it with badassness. (Yeah, I like Underworld and Riddick, what about it? :D) So, I was hoping ALVH would deliver along those lines and it kind of did. Kind of.
The main attraction for me was director Timur Bekmambetov. (I really enjoyed his 2008 film Wanted because it fulfilled the above requirements.) He has a unique, stylized way of filming and thought, at least, it would look amazing. I was right there too. Bekmambetov creates a dark atmosphere that permeates throughout. His action scenes are exaggerated and unrealistic, but hey…whatcha gonna do? Laugh it off. There was a lot of laughing–and I do not think that was the intention. Some sequences (like the horse stampede) were so over-the-top that it took me completely out of it. But, at least the vampires are nasty and look cool.
The novelist Seth Grahame-Smith also turned out the screenplay and I appreciated the clever connections to history, but felt he could not decide if he wanted this to be full-out fun or serious. What resulted is an uneven story, that keeps changing tone and never truly captivates.
The cast is strong and they all take this seriously (maybe too much so). Benjamin Walker is perfect as Lincoln but is only able to tap into either rage and vengeance or wise and sullen. Not truly fleshed out. Dominic Cooper is way too cool for this movie–but doesn’t have much to work with. Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Mary Todd is really just a plot device–sad because she is lovely. Rufus Sewell tries to reach for villainous heights but falls short–mostly because he is onscreen too little. I am a fan a Anthony Mackie, but he too is only a plot device. Well, as you can tell…all character development is rushed and there are many things we are TOLD to understand. Abe falls for Mary–we may not see that happen–but trust them–it happens. Mackie’s Will is Abe’s best friend–when? how?–don’t worry–he just is. You get the idea.
Bottom line? If you have low expectations and are clear on what you’re in for, you may enjoy yourself a little. Otherwise you may want to skip this one. Honest Abe killing vamps turned out to be pretty silly after all.
- What the Critics Are Saying About #AbrahamLincoln – Vampire Hunter? [Film Review] (muhsadam.wordpress.com)