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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: June 23: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter


June 23: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

"Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States. He makes it his mission to eliminate them."

Yes, I actually went to the theaters and saw Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and yes I enjoyed the hell out of it. I even paid to see it in 3D because I wanted to get even more "involved" in this bloody fictional history lesson. It's a ridiculous premise executed with style and a crap ton of slow motion, but dammit I really liked it. Vampire Hunter had been one of the more under the radar movies I had been anxiously looking forward to and I am very glad I went to see it. Sure, it has many, many flaws and is far from being anything perfect, but is saved by it's campy special effects, awesome violence, and a damn good performance by Benjamin Walker (who looks like a young Liam Neeson) as Honest Abe. 

Like a young Oskar Schindler liberating the souls of the undead.

The plot is fairly unique, using historical events as a backdrop for a mess of conflicts with the undead. Abraham Lincoln witnesses a vampire murder his mother and swears to avenge her death by any means necessary. He's recruited by Henry Sturgess (the underrated Dominic Cooper), a man with his own mysteries who trains Lincoln in the art of vampire hunting. Thus, after weeks of training (because who needs more than a month learning the art of killing the undead?), Lincoln heads to Springfield, IL to begin his new vocation. With each blood sucker destruction, Lincoln grows stronger and wiser, eventually finding a place in politics, where he plans on using his words instead of his silver-laced ax. Randomly jump 30 years into the future, when Lincoln is president and is at the eve of the Civil War. Adam (Rufus Sewell), an ancient vampire has allied himself and his army of undead soldiers with the Confederacy. Thus, a battle on every front ensues and Lincoln, as well as the entire nation, have a personal stake (no pun intended) in the conflict. 

"Johnny Reb and the Confederate Dracula: A Novel" by Confederate President, Jefferson Davis

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is campy fun. You really can't go into it thinking it will be a masterpiece because, hello?, the premise has one of our greatest presidents slaying vampires. Sure, it's pacing is pretty bad (a lot of substance in certain areas is missing) and the dialogue seems like it was ripped from the best-selling book and kind of missed the transition to the screen. Not everything that sounds great in a novel sounds great when actually spoken aloud, but a few lines slip through that are fairly awesome. Overall, I'd definitely recommend Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, but I would suggest skipping the 3D. I feel a lot of the action would look a lot better in standard 2D and my eyes got a little tired by the film's end. Still, it's worth a watch and even if it fails miserably at the box office, it has all of the elements to be one hell of a cult classic. 

The Good:
Benjamin Walker kicking so much ass in the vampire hunting department and giving chills with a powerful presence as President Lincoln
The Bad:
a plot that jumps ahead too quickly and too often, not giving quite enough investment into building the relationships between the characters
The Ugly:
an overall seriousness to the film that tries to make itself much more of a historical drama than a historical action movie with a bunch of bloody bits

Overall: 7.4/10


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At September 4, 2012 at 9:00 PM , Blogger Richard Kirkham said...

Lots of fun stuff here. I was looking forward to this film more than any other this year except Prometheus. Your write up is pretty accurate. There are some changes from the book but the movie is a visual form of storytelling so it needs to work differently. If you have time (I can see by all the posts and comment responses you seldom do) drop by and see a more complete set of my comments. Again, I really am enjoying your site and I find a lot of things that I want to comment on and share. Thanks


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