I was willing to go into ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ with an open mind, which is a hard thing to do since the premise itself it’s laughable. It certainly does have some good action scenes and even the way the storyline is weaved in with some of Lincoln’s real life facts draws you in. Unfortunately, it is very easy to pick at the good things this movie has to offer, because despite those few things the film just falls apart and goes from a horror/ fantasy film to a comedy in a dark setting.
This two hour long film begins with Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) reading his diary starting with his childhood, where after a horrific encounter with a vampire he’s left wanting vengeance. Fortunately for him just when he gets the guts to face the deadly vampire, he’s saved by Henry (Dominic Cooper) who teaches him the skills for him to really succeed at this task. He leads a somewhat solitary life until he becomes a shop clerk at Joshua Speed’s (Jimmi Simpson) store; where he meets Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Lincoln decides to focus on politics in order to end slavery, but little does he know that his political actions will enrage the vampires even more than his hunting, especially Adam (Rufus Sewell) the clan leader.
The vampire hunter bit has potential; but inserting a very important historical character is what mainly ruined the film, since it obviously takes seriousness out of it. Although the weapon of choice, an ax, is a bit silly it works in a comical and yet powerful way. The vampires are scary, because they are a combination of humans and monsters, different from the ones we are used to seeing, but some of the vampire rules are changed here and I don’t think that worked. The action scenes are engaging but towards the middle of the film they begin getting a bit ridiculous, specially the horse-chase scene.
I went to a screening of the film in 3D and although it worked at times, in some of the scenes the dust flying around was very distracting. Walker has a strong character throughout most of the film, but he fails miserably in one of the scenes where he’s beat up and he can’t remember his eye is swollen shut and opens it continuously; which means he clearly needs to brush up on his acting. Cooper does a convincing job as the hunter’s guide, and Sewell always knows how to play a hate-able bad guy.
My biggest problem with this film is that although they tried to mix in fantasy with facts and it worked in some level, it also mocks Lincoln; it definitely makes an interesting point about slavery amongst some good quotes but it’s unsettling and a bit offensive. The story sort of works for the first hour but it falls to pieces, making the public laugh with ridiculous scenarios. I believe this summer has better action movies to watch than a vampire hunting wanna be superhero president.