June 26, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

"Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States. He makes it his mission to eliminate them."

As most of us have learned from Timur Bekmambetov's famous Russian movies, just because there are vampires in them, it doesn't make them horror. Also, just as "Night Watch" and "Day Watch" were fantasies with some cool action scenes, it's no big surprise that Timur Bekmambetov (aided and abetted by producer Tim Burton) has done more of the same.

To bring in another of his films, "Wanted", for comparison, the action scenes in "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" are an identical mixture of slow-motion and ramping but with really annoying quick cuts this time just to spoil what little enjoyment there actually is.

In fact, the whole movie suffers from being far too quick over the ground. As amusing as the title may be just to poke a bit of fun at one of America's dead kings, you might at least still expect a decent amount of backstory and fleshing out of the character. There is some, but it's very rushed. Alas, the Abraham Lincoln in this story remains as one-dimensional as the one in the history books who nobody outside of the U.S.A. even cares about.

Although this was all based on a novel (for those strange people who can read such things), if the screenplay by the same writer is anything to go by then I'm glad that I didn't bother struggling through such antiquated papery crap. I know people are moaning that the film isn't as good as the book, but I simply don't believe them.

Of course, "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" is nothing more than a silly Summer movie for kids with too much money who want to leave their brains outside the cinema and chomp down as much stale popcorn as they can. Think in terms of "Van Helsing" or those horrible new "Sherlock Holmes" movies and you can guess the rest.

This isn't meant for hardcore horror fans or anybody outside of the same target audience as the one for "Twilight". No, the vampires don't sparkle in this but they do come out in daylight and aren't any scarier than the "bad vamps" from Stephanie Meyer's imagination. They are about as effective as those feeble offerings too.

Highlights are the special computerised effects which would be great if only things would move slowly enough to be able to get a good look at them. There's a scene with stampeding horses and another with a train which are more than a little confusing with who is doing what to who and why.

The much publicised axe-wielding, "axe-fu" or "axe-kata", is quite neat to watch but, again, it suffers from not really being able see anything gory. "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" feels like a PG-13 movie which accidentally got an R-rating for having a swear word and a flash of boobies.

There is blood in this but it's your typical vampire bite on the neck kind of blood. Everything else is CGI with very occasional practical effects. It all looks good. The make-up, costumes and period sets actually look great, but it's all "style over substance" anyway.

I'll give some credit to Benjamin Walker in that he looks the part in the make-up and uncomfortable clothes, but I wish somebody had let him do some acting. The same can be said of the rest of the cast who also seem to only be there to play dress-up.

Fans of Mary Elizabeth Winstead (from "The Thing" premake) will be pleased to see her again in a quite inconsistent role as Mary Todd Lincoln. I have no idea if Abraham Lincoln was married, but I assume he was and they had to fit this almost superfluous character in somewhere. She doesn't do a lot, but the one scene where she kills a vampiress isn't too bad.

Rufus Sewell plays the part of Adam, the head vampire, really well, but doesn't get enough time on screen to be memorable. He's also completely upstaged by a fellow Brit, Dominic Cooper playing Henry Sturgess, who, if there is ever a sequel, is bound to be in it.

Anyway, I don't want to give any more spoilers away since "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" is now showing at a movie theatre near you and, even though you will undoubtedly be disappointed, you'll probably still want to watch it.

No comments:

Post a Comment