Posted on June 24, 2012 AT 05:39am
The funniest movie of the year is Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. There’s only one drawback: this isn’t a comedy. The action/horror adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s book of same name is a big budget movie with stunning visuals and a surprisingly strong cast. While not full of major names, there are plenty of recognizable faces that are littered throughout the film, some of which are in very surprising roles. Though it only borrows liberally from the book (many of the book’s plot points are either changed or ignored), it still holds the basic premise in mind. Moving back and forth between laughable silly (while attempting to be serious) and action-packed, this movie is entertaining, but lacks a clear direction.
The film, which was written by Seth Grahame-Smith as well, and directed by Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted), focuses on the secret life of one of the most influential presidents in United States History. After witnessing a vampire murder his mother as a boy, Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) grows up vowing to get vengeance on the creature that killed her. Aided by Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), Abraham takes on the role of hunting down these creatures of the night. This role occurs for a large portion of his life (and the film), including during the meeting of the woman who will one day become his wife, Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).
Led by Adam (Rufus Sewell), the vampires resist at every turn, wanting to take America as a land for their kind. This outlandishly silly plot holds well as the movie unfolds, with the only issue being that the film seems to take itself seriously. This is an impossible task, given the loose affiliation with true events, and the fact that their vampires (which are thankfully very more like the creatures in films such as 30 Days Of Night and less like Twilight) all seem to know martial arts and have Force powers.
This movie is beautiful, with great direction and wonderful scenery throughout. With wide, spiraling shots and lots of cool looking explosions, the movie looks like an action film set in the 19th century. However, the movie also wants to take place inside The Matrix, as there are over a dozen slow-motion shots with last second dodges and unnecessary bouncing off walls and other objects during fight sequences. Had the premise not betrayed the film, this would be a visually stunning gem of an action film, however, given the subject matter, it looks like a very pretty, very expensive B-Movie.
The acting was surprisingly good, with Benjamin Walker doing a fine job as Honest Abe, though he tried too hard to be Abraham Lincoln: American Badass, giving long, serious looks before going into action. Winstead did a serviceable job as Todd, though she was pretty flat through most of the film. Jimmi Simpson (Zodiac, Date Night) was a fine Joshua Speed, and Cooper was commendable as Henry Sturgess. Nothing powerhouse, but all of them did a good job in keeping the movie as believable as possible in a film like this.
Most of the movie went back and forth between looking awesome and filled with action to being completely ridiculous, which made it very fun to watch, but hard to take as a real action film. A fun, entertaining movie if there are no expectations attached, and completely awful if an action epic is expected. This movie is sure to be a cult hit later on in its lifespan, but it’ll likely fall flat for most action fans. This is one of the best terrible movies in a long time, falling under the “so ridiculous it’s awesome” label. Personally, it was an entertaining, hilarious film under the guise of an action film, and if not taken seriously, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a fun ride. If looked at as a serious action film, however, this movie is awful.
- THE GOOD: Visually Stunning, Very Entertaining
- THE BAD: Deviated Too Far From The Source Material
- THE UGLY: Took Itself Far Too Seriously
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