ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER (REVIEW)
Dir. Timur Bekmambetov
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
Based on the book of the same title, ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER will either appeal or come across as blasphemous dependant on your stance on history. Either way, the idea of one of the most love Presidents of the US of A kicking vampire ass is a concept certainly appeals to us.
Opening with the back-story of young Abe and his friendship with a black boy as white and black people are slaves to one kind, the barbaric vampire Jack Barts (Marton Csokas) and the untimely death of his mother at the hands of the vampire leads Abe to grow up seeking revenge and when the opportunity arises a few years later, an ignorant Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) attempts to kill him, unbeknownst that he is a vampire leading to a barbaric beating when Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper) takes him under his wings. And right on queue, Abraham Lincoln turns all Wesley Snipes on us wielding his axe and chopping through blood.
But while Abe heads low in the hunt for further vampires, he takes an interest in politics and falls in love with Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) turning the film into Mr Darcy Vampire Hunter and blurring the line between fact and fiction, the rest is history.
Twists and turns ensue as they go through the ranks to wreak revenge for his mothers death but despite the generic revenge story, it is the little details of historic fact that make ALVH that little more interesting than the rest. His sons early death, character references (Jefferson Davis, Jeb Nolan), references to Gettisberg and the Emancipation Proclamation taking references to the slavery of man to vampire. All this cleverly interwoven between the beautiful action sequences and some rather graphic deaths.
However, that’s about as far as we can praise Bekmambetov’s adaptation of the Seth Grahame-Smith novel. Looking like a Pixar movie, ALVH has far too much CGI with almost every scene filmed on green-screen. For a film of such budget you’d expect some effort to go into the sets and it doesn't just end there. The vampires look ugly, and no, not in a scary way. The CGI transformation and fangs will make you beg for the Hammer house fake teeth.
Bemkmambetov is most famous for his great adaptation of WANTED featuring some of the coolest action sequences on film. This is evident all throughout Abe’s adventure but the phrase too much of a good thing could not be any more appropriate. Upon every fight scene the slo-motion button is repeatedly pressed and after about the third death, it gets tiresome. It works well for the big vampire massacres but do we really need to slow the pace at EVERY death? Thought not.
And the open ending just isn't needed, this is Abe’s story and with the perfect opportunity to play with one of the biggest events of American history, the assassination, was left to the imagination without a vampire reference in sight.
While this sticks pretty well with its source and bringing BLADE to the 19th century with some cool action sequences, blood splatter and entertaining references to history that will keep those who watch the History Channel happy, the over-use of CGI marred with the unlikable lead make Abraham Lincoln a slave to itself.