Who knew that Abraham Lincoln was such a bad dude? We knew he was a former U.S. President and someone who helped free the slaves, but apparently, he also lived a secret life of slaying vampires. Well, at least that's what they say in the fictional movie called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
The story of Abraham Lincoln gets a sci-fi spin when Timur Bekmambetov gets behind the camera for the book turned movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. In this film, Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) witnesses his mother get murdered by vampires and promises to get revenge for her death. Once he's old enough to go out on his own, he begins his quest for vengeance and meets Henry Sturges (Dominc Cooper), a mysterious man who decides to prepare him for this deadly excursion. If Lincoln follows the strict rules given to him by Sturges, he may get exactly what he wants and more than he could ever imagine.
Obviously the concepts are the most crucial selling points of this movie and peaked my interest more than anything else. Building a story around a real life person and some of the important aspects of his life is one thing, but adding in a fictionalized portion that features him hunting down and killing vampires sounds interesting. The questions that come after the concepts are created is what's most important, because you know they have to take whatever they're working with and make it watchable and entertaining for the audience.
I think the creators behind this movie failed at delivering much outside of the unique concepts that have been handed to them. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter reminds me of a cartoon or a comic book in some negative ways. Some of the characters are too over the top in the same way that you might imagine you'd see in a cartoon, but they also have very little personality or substance. I don't know if the actors were told to act like this beforehand or this is just the best that some of them could actually do, but it didn't work either way.
The most significant failure out of all of the performers is Benjamin Walker. I'm assuming he got his role, because they were able to make him look extremely similar to Abraham Lincoln. Once he comes on screen, you can clearly see that he has some work to do as an actor. There are a few of other actors who underperformed as well, but they're clearly not as important as he is. These other actors, like him, are either mere caricatures of the roles they're playing or just put on some empty and largely forgettable displays of acting.
Despite the cartoonish feel of the characters, I think that the director wanted this movie to be serious as well. I think you can say that this adds to the existing problems here, because you can't really take too many of these guys seriously. Mixing in too many over the top, yet bland characters to something like this simply won't work in any way and that's shown in this picture. This mixture of comic book characters with a desire for serious undertones makes the movie unintentionally funny on multiple occasions and that's never a good thing for any movie.
After awhile, I was just hoping for this movie to end as quickly as possible so I could get out of there. All of those things that I mentioned above were seemingly repeating themselves and it continued as it got closer and closer to the end. At this point and time, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter surprisingly kicks up several notches and makes noticeable improvements. They finally get away from the bad storytelling and some less than stellar performances put on by a few of the more prominent actors in the movie. In escaping those issues, they gear the story everything more toward the action, and that stuff is special going toward the end.
Now things are moving much faster and are getting better during this time. Even the acting doesn't seem as bad as it did at first. The fun that's there to be had really covers up some of those larger holes that were damaging the movie early on. If they would have had this same energy and passion from the outset, I'd be sitting talking about how great this action packed movie was. Instead, I'm talking about how bad most of it is.
The truth is I want to give Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter a higher score than it probably deserves, because I liked the ending and what immediately precedes it so much. That said, I have to take the entire movie into account when grading it. In the end, this is a movie that leaves a large chunk of potential quality on the table. In its place, there's below average acting and a lifeless story that can't stand up to the amazing last few scenes and a cool concept.
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Film Length: 105 minutes
Release Date: June 22, 2012
Distributor: 20th Century Fox