“This movie is more fun than it has ANY right to be.” That was the concise diagnosis that a good friend of mine rendered after his viewing. He was absolutely right. This premise, hell…the TITLE, just BEGS for ridicule. But, given the preposterousness of the concept, crazy Russian director Timur Bekmambetov SOMEHOW manages to inject a little…how we say?….gravity(?) into the cartoonishly macabre proceedings. Basically, the story follows Abe as he goes from witnessing his mothers murder by a nefarious local blood-sucker, as a kid, to blossoming into a Jedi-like killer of the Nosferatu (with a bad-ass silver-edged axe!). Along the way, various historically accurate characters and situations add ‘real-world’ obstacles and ‘dimension’ to Abes bloody quest for revenge. Going into this, I had ‘middle of the road’ expectations, as I tend to have with Bekmambetovs work. Night Watch (2004), Day Watch (2006) and Wanted (2008) all have great stylings and inventive ideas but ultimately, my enjoyment is over-ridden by the heavy dose of ‘silly’ sprinkled liberally through the scattered narratives. In the case of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the ENTIRE idea is a lil bonkers, so that takes care of the ‘silly’ right there. Or…that’s the way it came across to me. Bekmambetov lends a more evenly paced and straight forward direction and momentum to this one. It moves along briskly, but has enough moments of ‘pause’ to allow the audience to catch their collective breath. As Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Walker (who?) does a decent job of giving his ‘take’ on the famed president. It was just too bad that he physically reminds me of Eric Bana, enough that I kept wondering what HIS take on the role would’ve been. That aside, Walker gave an enjoyably passable performance. The gorgeous Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Live Free or Die Hard) brightened the picture, as she manages to do in all her roles, good and bad. Here, MEW steps into the role of Lincolns supportive and capable wife, Mary Todd Lincoln and gives the woman a nice hint of action heroine flair. Rufus Sewell (Dark City) chews into the scenery (and some victims!) with a real sense of zeal as the Arch Villain Adam. The rest of the surrounding cast (some familiar, mostly ‘unknowns’) definitely pull up their socks to lend to this strange ‘comic book’ movie efforts. And I have to say: I like squibs. Why in the hell is Hollywood SO afraid of blood packs these days?! I swear it’s so that they can alter their (usually) silly looking CG blood sprays in order to release a version at whatever rating suits them (and increases the ‘grosses’). There is LOADS of blood spilled in this flick, it’s just too bad it’s made of 1s and 0s. To be fair, it’s looks pretty good…kind of like how 300 (2006) went about it. But still…GIVE ME SQUIBS! All in all, I actually enjoyed Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and would easily recommend it to any self-respecting geek.
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