“History prefers legends to men. It prefers nobility to brutality, soaring speeches to quiet deeds. History remembers the battle, but forgets the blood.” Those haunting words describe Timur Bekmambetov and Tim Burton‘s historical-horror mash-up, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. The 3D adaptation is filled with blood and guts but plays down the glory of the lawyer who became one of the most important men in American history.

The Players:

  • Director: Timur Bekmambetov
  • Writer: Seth Grahame-Smith (novel and screenplay)
  • Cast: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Rufus Sewell, Erin Wasson, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jimmi Simpson,
  • Cinematography by: Caleb Deschanel
  • Original Music by: Henry Jackman

The Plot:

Based on the novel of the same name, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a fictional bio of the 16th President of the United States of America. As a child, Lincoln’s (Benjamin Walker) mother is killed by a vampire, leading him down a path of revenge. His thirst for justice spills over into his professional life as he goes from local lawyer to politician. With the aid of his mentor Henry (Dominic Cooper), best friend William (Anthony Mackie) and assistant Joshua (Jimmi Simpson), he takes on the powerful Adam (Rufus Sewell) — a Southern vampire knee-deep in the slave trade.

The Good:

  • Benjamin Walker: Walker’s got the look, the voice, and most importantly the acting chops to play Lincoln. He believably conveys the character’s earnest demeanor, and his action prowess. You can buy him as the “Honest Abe” we’ve all read about, as well as the fictional slayer. Walker had a tough road ahead of him, but successfully pulled it off.
  • 3D: This is a touchy topic for most movie viewers, but the 3D served its purpose. The action actually benefited from it. The scenes weren’t particularly murky or tedious. And there were some great sequences that put the extra dimension to good use.

The So-So:

  • Action: Speaking of action, it was decent, but it left me wanting more. And I don’t mean that in a good way. It depended too heavily on over the top  Zack Snyder-style slow motion. We also endured some questionable wire-work, which at this point in filmmaking, should be perfected. Some of the kicks and flips were channeling Charlie’s Angels circa 2000.

The Bad:

  • Mary Elizabeth Winstead: Winstead is a good actress. She’s shown that in other films, but period roles are not her forte. She plays Lincoln’s long-suffering wife, and lacks any and all personality. Scenes that call for joy, anger or conviction fall flat on her part. It may be both the writing and casting, but either way, something about Mary Todd is lacking.

The Rating: 6.5/10

Overall:

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is an ambitious film that tries to make the President a badass action hero. All the pieces are there, but the execution is flawed. Instead of this being a campy homage to history, it takes itself too seriously, and skips out on the fun.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter opens in theaters June 22.

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Trailer:

Will you be seeing Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter this weekend?