Rating: R (for violence and sexuality)
Length: 105 minutes
Release Date: June 22, 2012
Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
Stars: 3 out of 5
They say movie adaptations usually do not give justice to well-written books. Well, this one does. The movie “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” somehow gives away the idea of the story, but not in its entirety. The story is based on a novel written by Seth Grahame-Smith. It explores America’s 16th president’s secret and untold life story that shaped the nation. It was created by a good mind with a very imaginative concept and is beautifully executed on the big screen.
When Abe was still young, he witnessed how his mother was murdered by a vampire, Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). Growing up, he vows to avenge her death, until he had the chance to kill Barts but failed and almost died. He was saved by a veteran vampire hunter, Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), a mysterious friend who soon mentors him about the art of hunting, fighting and slaying vampires. As Abe learns the skills of a vampire hunter with his friend, Henry also made him realize the connection of these vampires with slave trade.
As he progresses in politics, Abe becomes the president of the United States and begins to fight for the Civil War. While the people fight for human rights, the vampires take the life out of the country. As the divided Congress debates over essential issues, President Abraham Lincoln is simultaneously fighting two wars aiming to win back the soul of his nation. Until eventually, he must defeat Adam (Rufus Sewell), the vampire who leads his men to consume the entire country.
Also featured in the film, although in a slightly different manner and light as opposed to history, are the significant men and women in Abe’s life. Other casts in the movie are his friend and colleague, Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson); his African American valet who was also casted as a friend and advisor, Will Johnson (Anthony Mackie); and his wife Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Even Abe’s most famous adversary, Stephen Douglas (Alan Tudyk), puts in a good appearance as well.
Although this film is being noted to be challenging some facts from history and political books, it does put a good diversion and amusing antics that would lead the viewer to marvel deeper into Lincoln’s life. It is no wonder that after watching this movie, viewers would line up in bookstores to purchase a good biography book of this prominent man.
The setting and clothing used have a good sense of tone and color that adds authenticity and a relish of history to the movie. Walker has a charismatic beauty that works well with his partner, Winstead. Their great chemistry and rapport creates a perfect image of a tough husband and a loving wife.
The blend of fast- and slow-moving sequence frames sum up the movie’s action-packed thriller. Of course, this movie had to live up to the title, so no one would miss Abraham Lincoln at his best-hunting and slaying vampires. Among the best fight scenes in the movie is whenever Abe wields his silver-tipped ax with strength, deftness and precision to cut off vampire heads. The fight scenes are quite comparable to “The Matrix” with the long coats and slow motion battles, except for the sequences on stampeding wild horses and speeding train, which are fairly refreshing to the viewers’ taste.
The last scene had made great marks on the mind of many viewers. It shows that there was another man to be recruited as a new vampire hunter. Not much was seen of his face, just the back of a head repeating dialogue. Many rumors have gone out on who this man really is. See the entire movie to find out.
This movie is entirely fictional that desires to leave the viewers with confusion and perplexity, not offense and insult. It also adds a little sense of humor that is not bad; after all, isn’t that what all needs this summer? Director Bekmambetov did a great job of giving the 16th American President a dark and gothic character while showing the kind of charm that Americans are very much familiar with.
“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” was well directed by Timur Bekmambetov and produced by Tim Burton. The film was cleverly made with the use of in-depth frame that is as colorful and imaginative as how Grahame-Smithe described it in print. Overall, this movie is highly entertaining.