(Published in The Sunday Guardian, on 15 July, 2012, retrieved from http://www.sunday-guardian.com/masala-art/finally-gore-for-prez)
Cast: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Rating: 2.5 stars
When a film’s called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, you expect either a spoof or a terrible movie. I’m not quite sure which category this one falls in because it appears the director set out to make a seriously bad movie, while the actors seem convinced it’s a parody. Or that’s what I got from Abraham Lincoln’s (Benjamin Walker’s) slow-mo strides and Kung Fu Hustle type axe-wielding.
That the director doesn’t find any of this funny is as unbelievable as it’s indisputable. I mean, come on, this is based on a book written by a guy who wrote Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Like, if you made a movie called Harry Truman: Dragon Fighter, where all the Japanese were dragons (I don’t expect Hollywood to figure out South East Asian cultural symbolism), or George W Bush: Zombie Killer, where the Al Qaeda are Zombies, you’ve got to be joking somewhere, right?
Oh, yes, let me get to the story. So, Babe Abe has mommy issues and vampire issues, because he’s witnessed a vampire killing his mommy. So, he vows to avenge her death. Fair enough. His drinking buddy Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) gives him a pep talk, but we know this isn’t a particularly effective transfer of knowledge because Abe then goes and tries to shoot a vampire dead. And then takes forever to figure out silverware can be anti-vampire weaponry. I mean, hasn’t he read Twilight?
That brings me to the anachronisms. A chick with a leather fetish and a penchant for setting bridges on fire just as trains carrying battling vampires and Presidential aides hurtle towards them. The film also completely ignores all the rules of physics, as well as all the American time zones, but I suppose we can blame it on the God particle. Or can we? Maybe someone should make a film called Barack Obama: The God Particle Destroyer. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Well, so does the film.
So you have Abraham Lincoln, his loving wife (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), his best friends, and his worst enemy – the Vampire Nation, headed by Adam (Rufus Sewell). What else do you need for a gripping 3D wannabe horror noir movie? Lots of bloody killings – fangs digging into throats, bullets gouging out eyes and spilling out brains, random beheadings, what have you – and as much CGI as green screens and animation experts can conjure up.
The Verdict: Go with a gamer’s brain and a few pegs down, and you’ll love it.