Some Presidents are good at giving motivational speeches. Some are born to lead. And others, well they can do a little of both while finding time to kill vampires. That's right, our 16th President, who kept this nation together, also defended us against bloodsuckers. Well that is the version of history that is told in "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter."
The story of the President to be starts as a young boy, who sees his mother get killed by the vampire, Jack Barts (Marton Csokas). With revenge still in his heart, an older Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) tries to kill Jack not knowing that Jack is a vampire. Unsuccessful in his attempt, he is approached by Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), who teaches him everything he needs to know about vampires. Soon after, Ab begins his fight against vampires, quest to kill Jack, and march to the presidency.
Seeing that I like history, Lincoln is one of my favorite Presidents, and I like vampires, I was all in on seeing this movie. It is kind of hard to believe a President would ever fight vampires, not that vampires are real, but it probably makes for a good book. The real question is does it make for a good movie?
Well, it makes for a fun movie, but not really an epic one. The best thing about this movie is seeing vampire after vampire die. The blood flies left and right, which makes me wonder if it would have been more fun in 3D. Ab does most of the slicing and dicing with his ax, which proves to be a good weapon of choice.
All of that vampire killing fun might depend on what the audience thinks of the vampire deaths in slow motion, and the CGI effects. The CGI might not be for everybody, but it didn’t bother me. It did look a little awkward in some scenes, like during the horse chase. Besides the CGI, the movie looks good, which can be expected with Tim Burton involved.
One of the reasons the movie isn't epic is because of how the story is told. It starts off well seeing how Ab becomes involved with fighting vampires, but it doesn't seem to mesh well with how he becomes President. It's not a documentary, but showing him give a speech or two doesn't mean he's going to become President. They kind of just assume the audience knows he will be President so they don't emphasize it. I will give them credit for involving his study of law, and how he meets Mary.
When he eventually becomes President, he is obviously an older man. They show that he has taken some time off from killing vampires, and is a little rusty at it. Not long after showing this, he somehow finds the fountain of youth, and fights like he a young man. I know the point is showing him fight vampires as President, but it isn’t all that realistic to fight them in the same way he did as a young Abraham. Maybe they should have just skipped showing him be rusty.
The only other complaint I'll make about the story is how it doesn't pay enough attention to the vampire side of the story. Yes, the focus should be on Ab and his journey, but it seems too focused on him. While they do let the audience know what the vampires are up to, there just isn't enough time spent on it. They don't build up the vampires as to being as evil as you would think. Again, they assume the audience will hate the vampires simply because they are vampires.
One of the things I was interested in seeing was how they would handle Ab's death. No spoiler alert needed if you know your history. They leave it with Ab and Mary heading off to the theater, again testing your knowledge of history. While I have no problem with how they handle the ending, I would have preferred to see something different. Maybe not having to go through the whole theater scene, but somehow showing that John Wilkes Booth was a vampire would have been a nice twist.
History and horror buffs might enjoy this movie. Yes, not perfect in either regard, but if audiences are looking for a fun movie, this is it. Vampires are chopped down time after time in some pretty good action scenes. The CGI, and storyline kind of holds it back from being an epic movie. I would like to think I would have voted for Ab, so instead, I'll give his movie 3 pools of blood. Now I have to figure out which President would make the best zombie killer!
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