R | 105 mins | Sci-fi, Action, Adventure, Horror | July 4, 2012 (Philippines)
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Starring: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rufus Sewell
In light of the upsurge of twisted fairy tale movies comes an alternate retelling of historical events via Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. This was based on the mash-up fiction novel by Seth Grahame-Smith. It reveals the supposed secret life of the 16th President of the United States as a slayer of the undead. Abraham "Abe" Lincoln (Benjamin Walker), one of America's well-loved president, discovers vampires are planning to take over the US and makes it his mission to annihilate them. Like Harry Turtledove, the father of alternate history, Grahame-Smith masterfully wields this fiction genre where he rewrites classic literature and mix it with zombies and monsters.
It's hard to imagine Lincoln as a vampire hunter. Learning about his 'real' life story and his ideals, and memorizing The Gettysburg Address in highschool, the title just seems silly and derogatory. But mind you the story (based on the book) itself was well researched and, though suggests ridiculousness, made sense to me that's for sure. How? Abraham Lincoln is an ideal vampire hunter because of his outdoorsy background and his towering height, he was in good shape. Lincoln portrayed as an excellent fighter has basis, he in reality likes fist fights (check "Ten Things You Don't Know About: Abraham Lincoln" on History Channel). A historian said once that during a campaign speech, he went down the platform to pound on a rival supporter who was beating up his own follower then went back and continued with his speech.
Benjamin Walker channeled the stern look of Lincoln well. Mary Elizabeth Winstead was good in her portrayal as Mary Todd, proving that she can take on serious roles and she's not just a Sky High character.
I wasn't too impressed with the CGI, especially that scene where Lincoln chases a vampire through a stampede of horses. They just couldn't realistically create the animals, sorry. (Read: Don't watch it in 3D) The sound effects could be better. Twas so nonsensical when a 2-inch toy sword made of plastic that's dropped on carpet sounded like King Elendil's Narsil dropped on a mass of metal. The scoring could have added the needed depth to the story. It could've been worse, but at least the movie brought the novel to life enough. Bekmambetov's earlier directorial work, Wanted, was a flop for me. It was more of a comedy than a serious movie to me, so imagine my surprise when Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter worked out OK taken as a whole.
More than the technical atrocities, I still enjoyed it. Well, mainly because of the refreshing story really. This is something different. Vampire cum history lovers will like this! But, just a heads up, the vampires here don't sparkle in the sun. LOL.