Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell, Marton Csokas, Jimmi Simpson, Joseph Mawle, Robin McLeavy, Erin Wasson, John Rothman, Cameron M. Brown, Frank Brennan, Lux Haney-Jardine, Curtis Harris
Written by: Seth Grahame-Smith, based on his novel
Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
MPAA Rating: R for violence throughout and brief sexuality
Running Time: 105
Date: 06/18/2012
IMDB

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Civil Bore

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Director Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Day Watch, Wanted) usually makes hyper-kinetic movies with a few explosive scenes, but which are ultimately empty. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is doubly so, since it also squanders a great hero and a potentially silly idea. The movie takes the idea of Abraham Lincoln fighting vampires dead seriously, and also doesn't seem to wonder about ridiculous concepts such as Southern vampires supporting the issue of slavery.

As a boy, Abraham Lincoln helplessly witnesses the death of his mother at the hands of a vampire. When he becomes a man (Benjamin Walker), he contemplates his revenge. A stranger Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) offers to teach him how to fight and kill the evil creatures. In Springfield, Abe does his hunting at night, in-between studying the law, working at a general store, and courting Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). He becomes interested in politics, which leads to his being elected president years later. But when vampires from the South begin to turn the Civil War into a bloody massacre, Abe must take up his old hunting ways once again.

After simply ignoring everything potentially funny and lively, the movie grinds down on its characters, turning them into empty vessels upon which to hang the action sequences. One shot of bearded, stovepipe-hatted Lincoln marching toward the camera in slow motion like a grindhouse hero shows just what Bekmambetov thinks of him. Sure, some of the sequences are big and impressive, but without any emotional involvement, they're as dead as a coffin nail.

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