Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – It’s a Popcorn Movie, Not a History Lesson

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov (2012)
Fourscore and seven years ago – sadly that’s all I remember. Don’t get me wrong I love American History but my period of knowledge is World War II. Ask me about the Zimmerman telegram, I’m your girl. Wait that was WWI, nevermind. Several of my friends are teachers and they all have expressed their feelings on the utterly ridiculous concept of this film. And I agree, but the sheer lunacy of the idea made me want to read the book Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter in first place.

Abraham Lincoln is one of the greatest American presidents – I say that even acknowledging he was a Republican. Ok, I’ll keep that rant to myself. But, take Abe’s earned hero status of great emancipator and orator, give him an ax, throw in a little vamp action and sprinkle in some “historical” elements what’s not to love? However, the film unlike the book takes a looooooot of liberties with facts. I know it’s asinine to almost say this but the book did a better job of weaving fact into fiction.

Now, that’s not to say that if you get past the fact this film is not a history lesson, but as I stated an old fashioned popcorn movie you will be entertained. For one this is a beautifully shot film, even if you don’t see it in 3D, which I did because as you know I’m addicted to 3D, however the cinematography is great. As well the costuming and the use of the CGI is almost flawless. Almost, I’m still waiting on vampires in make-up folks.
In this version of the Abraham Lincoln story instead of consumption taking the lives of his family, it was vampires. This incident sends Abe on a life-long quest to rid the world of vampires while saving the world from slavery. In this world slaves are fed on at will, because who’s going to report a slave missing? In the book there is more detail given to this element that felt a little rushed in the film. There is something a little offensive almost cavalier about showing the minimal horrors and indignities of slavery and reducing them to a backdrop for Lincoln’s true nemesis – vampires.

The actors commit to this film meaning they did not play into what could have been a campy mess; instead the actors play the ludicrous of the situation as if this is really how history happened. The core cast of Benjamin Walker (as Abe), Rufus Sewell, Anthony Mackie (as Abe’s childhood friend), Jimmi Simpson and Dominic Cooper performances are all pretty believable. And Hat Tips to Cooper who in the film Miyagi’s young Abe into being a kick ass vampire slayer, he was most entertaining.

Now that’s not to say the film is without problems, as previously stated the slave narrative is glossed over and reduced to a side note in Lincoln’s life. Some of the action sequences are way too over-the-top for old Abe to not have super hero powers. Pay close attention to the fight scene involving run away cattle and the train scene in the final act. But, again like I’ve stated what three million times before if you watch see this film as an action movie and not something that will be airing on the History Channel you will be entertained by it. See it!

Check your local listings for showtimes.

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