Pauls Valley Democrat
Pauls Valley, Oklahoma —
Perhaps it hurts my own effectiveness to say this, but the art of critiquing movies is not so much to tell someone whether they should see something or not, it is more to present a clear picture of how one feels about a cinematic project. This is why I never cease to be amused when something with such a ridiculous premise like this is treated with any sort of preconceived qualifications to be acceptable viewing.
The very humor in the name alone was enough to pique considerable interest in making it a must see on my summer list with trailers harkening me back to the corny, brittle plot 90s action movies. I mean what the heck is the point of determining how serious or silly it should be when a former and celebrated president picks up an ax and begins a revenge quest against southern vampire baddies? “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” could have gone a more parody laden route, but is far above terrible insult with no lack of entertainment for classic bloodsucker fans.
Kicking off in ye olde 1818, honest Abe Lincoln’s (Benjamin Walker) connection to the vile creatures is pretty well established early on (though he knows not yet what they are) when his mother Nancy (Robin McLeavy) falls victim to them in his own home. Letting things fester for a bit because of a promise he made to his father Thomas (Joseph Mawle), after dad’s death he eventually goes after the man responsible, Jack Barts (Marton Csokas).
However, he sorely underestimates his opponent and only escapes with his life due to the actions of vampire hunter Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), who eventually clues Abraham in on how to kill his supernatural foes. Thus begins the goofy fictional training part sprinkled with bits of real history from his rise to the presidency to meeting his wife Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) as well as allies Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson) and former slave/childhood friend William Johnson (Anthony Mackie). Be prepared for lots of hack em up action, hilarious lines or clever references before the defeat of main antagonists and the dashing of any hope that the south will ever rise again.
In fact, the only thing really missing is throwing in “Twighlight’s” Edward in for good maiming measure, the familiar stake to the heart from classic vamp stories or finding out that Johnson is actually Blade’s ancestor. It’s one of those flicks that’s simply fun to watch and has the potential of becoming a cult classic.
I can’t speak for how close it follows the novel of the same name, but it certainly has renewed my interest in putting it on my reading list. The content is not overly adult, rather coming across mostly clean save for the violent battles and should be fine for most ages. With no problem saluting this selection, I’d say “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” has earned three and three fourths out of five proclamations.