The title alone sounds like a joke: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
The 16th President of the United States taking on the mantle of a vampire hunter like Buffy the Vampire Slayer? That can't be right. The new movie is based on the novel of the same name, written by Seth Grahame-Smith. Shockingly, I really enjoyed this movie!
The plot is simple. Honest Abe agrees to hunt down the undead blood suckers after a personal tragedy from his childhood. But instead of Rupert Giles, he's trained in the arts of killing the undead by a man named Henry Sturges. Thus begins his adventures that eventually lead Abraham to becoming the president.
When I first saw trailers for the movie, I scoffed at the idea. It just looked goofy to me. Don't get me wrong, the movie is goofy. The idea of Abraham Lincoln killing vampires is ludicrous. But it works. Surprisingly, even with the story taking itself completely seriously there are laugh-out-loud moments. It was also interesting seeing historic figures pop up throughout the film.
Nearly all of the actors did a great job of making this ridiculous sounding alternate history seem plausible in a way. Benjamin Walker plays Lincoln, and he seems genuinely believable in the role through both looks and personality. He takes the job of seeking vengeance against the vampires very seriously.
His mentor Henry Sturges, played by Dominic Cooper, was the highlight of the film. His character probably has the most obviously humorous dialogue. But Sturges also has a dark secret that nearly ends his relationship with Lincoln a third of the way through the movie.
The one gripe I have about the performances was that of Rufus Sewell, who plays Adam, the leader of the vampires. His character just felt cliché to me, and Sewell's acting just seemed a little cardboard and one note at times.
Action-wise, I thought this movie was a visual knockout. There are two scenes in particular that really stood out. The first was a chase/fight scene, with Abraham trying to take some personal vengeance on one vampire. He's trying to kill it while running through a herd of horses. While parts are obviously CG, the whole scene was so creative and different, the moments I could tell it was fake really didn't bother me. Still, a word of warning if you love horses, you're not going to like what you see here.
The second scene that really pulled out all the stops was at the end. The scene involves a train with an army of vampires trying to stop it. Things come to a head when a massive wooden bridge the train's about to cross is set ablaze. Lincoln has to face Adam as the bridge they are on starts crashing down. It was another visually jaw-dropping scene that was unlike any action scenes in my recent memory.
Timur Bekmambetov directed this movie, and the Kazakhstan-born director did an amazing job with the fantastical scenes that unfold. The action and humor were definitely the highlights of this film. I'm 100 percent positive it won't be getting any Academy Awards for best movie or best director, but that's not what kind of movie this is. ALVH is all about fun and excitement in my opinion, and for the most part it worked. I wasn't expecting to be touched emotionally when I went in and I wasn't, but that's OK.