‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ is perhaps one of the most crazy, bonkers and out of its tree movies you are likely to see this year.
The film is an adaptation of a Seth Grahame-Smith novel and is co-produced by Mr. Macabre Tim Burton. Coincidentally, Burton and Grahame-Smith were the creative brains behind the disappointment that was ‘Dark Shadows’ earlier this year but where Burton’s flick fell flat on its face ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ is certainly an improvement.
To say that the film is a success would be a stretch but it certainly has some positives to write home about.
First and foremost, it’s directed by Russian-Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov.
Bekmambetov made waves with his bonkers 2004 Russian vampire flick ‘Night Watch’ and then followed it up with the equally nonsensical ‘Day Watch’ in 2006.
Bekmambetov has never made any secret of his love and passion for shooting action scenes and it was because of the skill and prowess he displayed during ‘Night Watch’ that many tipped the 51 year-old director to take Hollywood by storm.
Bekmambetov’s first big Hollywood project was the 2008 movie ‘Wanted’ but he’s been extremely quiet since then - until now that is.
The lavish action scenes and utterly implausible action sequences that many grew to love in ‘Night Watch’ are alive and well in ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’. It’s perhaps the film’s saving grace.
Bekmambetov has a vivid imagination and some of the action scenes in the movie could not have been conjured up by anyone else.
‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ is alternative history movie. It tells the story of how Abe became the 16th president of the United States of America but adds in for good measure that a young age he was trained as a vampire slayer.
After the premature death of his mother a young Abe (Benjamin Walker) swears to fight against the dark forces that hold the southern states of the U.S.A. in a sinister grip.
Fortunately for Abe he’s in good company as he has Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper) to show him how to dispatch of the blood sucking undead with unrelenting wrath.
Soon after learning the ways of a vampire slayer, Abe is swinging his axe and lopping off heads like a man possessed.
However, despite his best efforts with his head crushing axe Abe is drawn to the world of politics. It’s here that Bekmambetov saves the day.
Bekmambetov has never hidden the fact that as far as he’s concerned action sequences come first and to be honest you’ll be thankful of his superficial attitude as there’s hardly a minute wasted in the opening 45 minutes.
Grahame-Smith’s script is clunky and at times boring so when Bekmambetov is able to unleash his creative talents you’ll probably find yourself saying ‘thank God for that’.
The largely unknown Benjamin Walker is another positive. Walker fits into the role of the axe brandishing beard beater with ease. Walker’s charming and evokes stony faced toughness and is definitely a compelling protagonist.
Bekmambetov and Walker aside, ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ has plenty of flaws.
The constant reaffirming of the political side of Abe’s life soon becomes annoying and to pin what happened in southern states of America during the American Civil War on a bunch of vampires is a little irresponsible.
Be that as it may, the action sequences save the day. Grahame-Smith’s script will have some thinking that the film is trying to punch above its weight but Bekmambetov’s input saves the day.
The script leaves a lot to be desired and the insistence on giving so much time to the political moulding of Abraham Lincoln is a disappointment. However, director Timur Bekmambetov saves the day with ridiculous, entertaining and over the top action sequences. Benjamin Walker as Abe is also impressive.