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Central African Rep
Must Watch Videos
Movie review: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Joseph Mosselson | Fri, 10 Aug 2012
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
combines a couple of major entertainment trends of the last few years: historical fiction retrofitted with supernatural beasties and, well, vampires. Based on the novel of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith, the film looks at Abraham Lincoln’s early life and posits him as a naïve young man driven into politics by a desire to take revenge on the vampires who slaughtered his family.
As he goes about his quest, he gains a burgeoning awareness of the civil rights movement, culminating in his stint in the White House. But the vampires who have infiltrated the newly formed United States will stop at nothing to ensure slavery continues to provide them with an abundant source of food. Hence the Civil War.
The idea of imagining one of the greatest historical figures in US history as a supernatural monster hunter is an undeniably silly one. But, to the film’s credit, it never feels especially beholden to its historical setting. Director Timur Benkmambatov is not about to let the constraints of the age (or the laws of physics) get in the way of a good action sequence, and he delivers several of those in an increasingly inventive manner. The slaying itself is nicely visceral; there’s plenty of axe-twirling action and the vampires make suitably grotesque targets for the variety of blades that end up embedded in their flesh.
The biggest problem with the movie is probably Benjamin Walker’s bland portrayal of Abraham Lincoln. It may be too much to ask that Lincoln be portrayed as the inspiring leader he actually was, but if a movie is intent on reimagining him as an action hero, it’s fair to expect at least a little Hollywood charisma. Fortunately, Dominic Cooper is on hand to bring the swagger as the man who mentors Lincoln in the ways of vampire hunting.
Most of the swagger, however, belongs to Benkmambetov, who makes it his mission to ensure that the action sequences match the inherent OTT nature of the movie's title. In that sense he delivers, although anyone expecting anything deeper should probably look elsewhere.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
opens in cinemas today (Fri 10 Aug).
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