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Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Released 20 June 2012
Director Timur Bekmambetov
Starring



Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell
Writer(s) Seth Grahame-Smith
Producer(s) Timur Bekmambetov
Origin United States
Running Time 105 minutes
Genre Fantasy, horror, action
Rating 15A
55

There are certainly better films out there..

Honest Abe may not be able to tell a lie but he sure can swing an axe and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter does exactly what it says on the tin, Abraham Lincoln turns up swings his axe and fells a lot of vampires.

Some people might suggest that old Abe (played by Benjamin Walker) was cool enough without all this vampire malarkey (what with his key part in the abolition of slavery and all that) but Hollywood clearly has other ideas. Seizing upon what's a terribly ubiquitous and in 2012 a now very much old convention of bullet time there's lots of slowed down, speeded up, loud, fast action and Abe resultantly makes a striking kick-ass action-figure. However, I think it's worth saying, despite AL:VH being an obviously silly tale and, although, I wasn't completely intellectually offended, that there is something slightly unpalatable in the weaving together of a significant part of American history and a pretty shoddy vampire tale. I mean, saying that the long history of American slavery was almost completely vampire led is the wrong kind of revisionist story, however silly, isn't it? And, I think, there are probably more worthy or, indeed, interesting tales to be told about this particular portion of history.

But there's a market for it, I guess, and I'm not even just referring to Twilight, or the paper thin social commentary True Blood drapes over its main concern (sexy time) but also on-trend novels like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters (books that are surely just a heartbeat away from a movie option). However, after AB:VH I've almost begun to think that there's something a little vampiric in of itself about Hollywood's constant reversions of popular franchises (I hear Spiderman is getting another chance on the circuit), plundering of history, and constant optioning of various comic books, video games and cartoons for our entertainment. I often wonder what exactly it is that people are happy being fed.

Like many superheroes (Spiderman and Batman for two obvious examples) Abe gets an absent parent origin (one of the parentals being offed by an irksome slave-owner vampire) and a resultant quest for vengeance. He begins his retributive killing drunkenly, inexpertly and almost fatally but mentored by Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) he gets to grips with the task and vamps are soon stacked high. The 3-D is great, the movie is terrifyingly loud, and the vampires are suitable horrifying, although, solely by virtue of them being vampires alone rather than anything character driven or their ominous plan for farming slaves for food. If you like this type of thing, you'll probably like this type of thing.

- Cormac O’Brien