Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Review: What The Hell! – Geek Mundo

I’m a big fan of Timur Bekmambetov because his cinematography is–in my opinion–perfect for action.  I think he can make a crappy fight scene, cool with the effects and attention to detail he employs.  And while he did that in ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter‘, somebody dropped the ball on the story and the film suffers for it.  Sometimes, you just need to leave well enough alone.

The movie opens with Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) working alongside his father, using his “trademark” axe to help his dad with splitting some wood.  What happens next sets the tone for Abe’s life and cements his friendship with Will Johnson (Anthony Mackie).  This serves to show the type of human being Abe is: one of conviction and respect for others.  Okay, now that that’s out of the way.

Abe’s mom is killed by a vampire, and this starts his vamp killing crusade.  When he goes about getting started on this endeavor the wrong way, he meets Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper), a very handsome, rock star-like vampire with a really awesome haircut.  I mean, did they REALLY have that much product in the 1800s?  I mean, his hair was on point–for going out tonight.  Henry is hip, which I could understand if the book painted him that way.  The movie made Henry kind of alright with being a vampire and not burdened down by the centuries that he’s lived or the people that he’s lost.  The very explanation as to how he became a vampire is not as intriguing  and kind of lame compared to the book.  I wish the story about how Henry and Abe meet and become friends had stayed intact, even if it had to be shortened.  I really wanted to see this movie mainly because of Henry and Abe’s relationship; this undead father figure-type/brotherly/boss relationship with Abraham.

Don’t get me wrong.  I absolutely loved Cooper in this (and ladies, he’s not bad on the eyes).  I just don’t understand why they made him look like he somehow traveled to 2012, picked up some gel and a haircut at Gene Juarez, and then hit the 1860s stylin’, profilin’ and gettin’ neck for food and for pleasure, if ya know what I mean… They took the caring and compassion Henry Sturges had in the book away and his loneliness.

Henry is lonely but extremely powerful and very well connected.  This Henry was powerless to Adam‘s (Rufus Sewell) master plan of giving the vamps a home of their own.

Speaking of Adam… Rufus Sewell is always a pleasure to watch and I really liked how calm, cool, collected and calculating he was as a villain.  You will see why there’s not a lot that bothers him.  I won’t spoil that for you because it’s really cool.  I did not understand why he was added at first, but I see that they need a face to the villainy going on in the movie.  His inclusion often brought a smile to my face because he was that freakin’ good.  His sister Vadoma (supermodel Erin Wasson) was also pretty bad ass in a “the quiet ones are the most dangerous ones” way.  She didn’t speak enough, if you ask me, but she was there and she held Adam and his malevolent plans down.

Walker is so lovable and likeable as Abraham Lincoln.  He’s a family man and good husband, even if there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of chemistry between he and Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).  They are cute and that’s about it.

Abe’s close relationship with Will translated well on screen, even if I had some misgivings about the addition of a “black best friend”.   I didn’t see how the addition of Will was going to help because, in a way, it’s not historically accurate.  Mind you, I said in a way. I think Will Johnson is a way to pay some sort of homage to Frederick Douglass, who was close to Abraham Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter‘ does delve a bit deeper into slavery than the book, which was welcome from a historical standpoint.  Mind you, I didn’t really see an issue with its small cameo in the book.  Harriet Tubman makes a cameo and the Underground Railroad proves to be very vital in the war effort.  You’ll see why.

Cool special effects (think ‘Wanted’) and some nice fight scenes aside, it was a disappointment for me as a fan of the book, but also fan of movies with good plots.  The omissions and new additions weighed this movie down in many ways.  And that scene with Jack Barts and the horses?  Unacceptably ludicrous.  It’s like the director, writers, and producers wanted Lincoln to get beat down.

Lincoln is portrayed as less than badass in a some key fight scenes, which was annoying because in the book he was able to shed that awkwardness after meeting Henry.  I kept shaking my head because for a minute I thought that he was going to spend a good part of the movie getting his butt kicked.  The writers finally get him right when he meets Adam and saves Will, but even then, the new additions eventually overpower him.  Why?  We want to see a vampire hunter, not an awkward fighter who keeps getting black eyes and bloody lips.  Also, the reality of vampire menace is barely touched on because the film focuses on Adam and Vadoma.  When the film ends and they talk about a vampire collective, it’s like, “Oh, there are more?”  Yes, there are more.  The book explains this much better.

The film does add more action where we could’ve used it in the book, and there are omissions that I am grateful for.  While it was in the back of my head, the heavy grief Lincoln was carrying in the book was thankfully not present in the movie.  That’s a killjoy.  The film also does a remarkable job of making Mary Todd look okay, mentally and emotionally.  In reality, she was not.  The Debbie Downer moments are few compared to the book.  The lighting (or lack thereof) really sets the tone for the place and the scenes are eerie.

If you are a book fan, you will most likely be disappointed in the degradation of the story and the characters (and that ending?  WHAT. THE. HELL????).  However, if you have never read the books, you may be able to overlook some of these plot holes and changes because of the action. You’ll still come out feeling like the movie was a bit too vacuous.  Why couldn’t they let Abe be great?

Overall, see it if you want to see some scary vampires here and there and you don’t feel like seeing ‘Brave‘.   And for God’s sake, read the book.

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