Sunday, June 24, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - Better Than It Has A Right to Be

For a film that exists solely because of it's high concept, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is far better than it has any right to be.

I know it's based on a novel whose reason for being is the title as well, and I haven't had a chance to check it out yet. As a summer blockbuster, though, Abe proved a pleasant surprise.

Check back with me after I've mulled it over a little, but I may decide I like it better than Prometheus, which I liked quite a bit.

Benjamin Walker is one key, delivering a likable interpretation of the young Lincoln as well as the older version we're most familiar with from paintings, coins and monuments.

He's backed up by a cool-looking Dominic Cooper as his mentor and Rufus Sewel as the key vampire opponent, who's, well, Rufus Sewel.

The alternate history of vampires as a factor in the Civil War doesn't seemed as forced as I'd expected either, and what real events that wind up getting utilized weave nicely with the fabrication.

Escalating set pieces are really the focus, however, and they're well conceived and fun beginning with Abe's first attempt to off the vampire responsible for his mother's demise. That's how the whole vampire-hunting business gets injected.

When a pistol shot fails to defeat his opponent, deft action and visuals follow, especially when Cooper's  Henry Sturgess, who has vampire-hating cred of his own, begins to train Abe to wield a rail-splitting ax as a weapon.

That inspired touch and the fight choreography that goes with it keep things moving, and horse stampedes, vampire battles and more soon follow.

Train sequences are a cinematic corner stone, and ultimately a train battle delivers a fun, visual and energetic conclusion.

While it sounds a bit like a front office decision for a film, don't dismiss Abe too quickly. If you can allow yourself to slip into the right frame of mind, it's a blast.


Anonymous said...

Let me just say--I disagree. Yes, some great visuals with the incendiary bridge and tumbling train cars, but come on. Abe Lincoln? Harriet Tubman? And Mary Todd Lincoln shooting that tiny silver sword through the female vampire's forehead? This movie was so loaded with cheese, it almost gave me heartburn!

Sidney said...

I wonder if the toy sword was used that way in the novel or just devised as a visual cue for the film. Oh well, I did think Mary Todd Lincoln had to be the one to finish off Vadoma.

Charles Gramlich said...

I just hate the gimick of it so much that it's going to be very very hard for me to watch this movie with a fair mind.

Sidney said...

I kind of felt that way, Charles. That's why I was pleasantly surprised. The stampede and the flaming bridge sequences are impressive.

Erik Donald France said...

I will check it out -- & appreciate your enthusiasm.

Friend of mine in San Antonio saw it and also liked it, to his merry surprise.

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