Thanks to 20th Century Fox Australia, we had the chance to see Timur Bekmambetov’s Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the film – but as usual – no matter what we say; we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because: There is no better critic than yourself!
Based on Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter follows the untold and fictional story of the iconic US president Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker), who before he went into politics, was a badass vampire killer trained by Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper) to fight the vampires commanded by Adam (Rufus Sewell) to take over the country.
The film’s plot is well written, and as Seth Grahame-Smith, author of the original novel also wrote the screenplay for the film, told us in our interview that ‘the joke ends with the title’, we could not agree more. Because despite the weird title, the film is taken seriously by the actors and director as an action vampire flick, with a solid cast, fantastic special effects, great 3D and tons of bloody scenes to give you a supernatural experience.
Benjamin Walker had the difficult task to fill Abraham Lincoln’s hat who did a great job, especially on historic moments where he looked old like the Lincoln we all know thanks to marvelous make-up work. Walker not only executes good speeches in the film, he also pushes himself physically in every action sequence, particularly when he uses an Axe to kill vampires which involves a lot of stunts and hardcore training.
Dominic Cooper has a minor but important role in training Abe as his performance is critical. He doesn’t shine so much as all eyes are on Lincoln and that is a good factor because it sticks with the original concept of the film.
Rufus Sewell’s character Adam is the bad guy in the film but he is more like a passive enemy who suddenly explodes and shows his power, reminding us of his performance in Dark City, with some twisted dark moments and an enigmatic past story which develops rapidly throughout the film.
The film also did a lot of research to integrate a vampire hunter plot into the US story, showing the day when Lincoln got into politics, became the president of the United States, the death of his son and his involvement in the war to end slavery, linking it all to vampire menace which is quite fun as every single detail is cleverly thought out.
Special effects are great as 3D works perfectly with director Timur Bekmambetov’s, taking it all to the next level with slow motion action sequences and the use of falling particles such as ashes to make the depth effect more realistic. Moreover, we think that the film’s highlight is actually the makeup, not only on vampires but also the older look of Lincoln, making a 29 year old Walker look exactly like the 54 year old Abraham Lincoln in historical records.
The major issue is the development of some secondary characters, such as Dominic Cooper’s story which is presented too late in the film when all became very predictable. The same goes with the villain Adam. Plus, Adam’s vampire sister Vadoma (Erin Wasson) was set to be a cool antagonist but her character slowly disappears, resulting in one of the most predictable ends in the film, not to mention Mary Todd Lincoln (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) whose vast turn of personality is quite bizzare (we won’t say more to avoid spoilers).
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is a film you will enjoy if you think of it as another super hero movie because if you take it seriously, you will probably feel that it is all over the place (the film is a parody which is not the original intention of the team behind it). Our advice is to simply take Abe Lincoln as another ‘Blade’ or ‘Priest’ kind of hero and you will have yourself a fun movie to see with blood, an axe, great effects and a quintessential truth – evil vampires do not shine like diamonds under the sun (you know what we mean!)
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter opens in Australia on August 2, 212 from Fox