Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Timur Bekmambetov's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is about the 16th President of the United States, who discovers vampires are planning to take over the United States. He makes it his mission to eliminate them.
Direction: Timur Bekmambetov
Cast: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper
The very idea is audacious. The title, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, is immediately startling, revealing the revered 16th American President
(1861-65) as a slayer of the undead. Adapted from the 2010 bestselling fantasy novel by Seth Grahame Smith (who also wrote the screenplay), the film has a Gothic flashmatazz, playing upon the use of colours, which are alternately velvety black and an eye-boggling crimson.
Co-produced by Tim Burton, the master of unbridled imagination (Beetlejuice, for one), the opulently mounted twilight epic is directed by Russia's Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch). Expectedly, the outcome is a visual stunner. On the narrative front, the metaphorical use of vampires (as the rednecks who exploited black slaves relentlessly), however, in effect becomes a pretext for a vendetta tale full of sound and nerve-tingling fury.
As a child, Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) witnesses the death of his mother as a consequence of his friendship with a black boy. Determined to wreak vengeance on the white despot (Rufus Sewell) who wields unchecked power, Lincoln Jr is mentored by a Good Samaritan (Dominic Cooper) aware of the fact that the despot is a vampire who lives off human blood.
On growing up, Lincoln wields a silver-coated axe to exterminate the creatures who have received a new lease of life in the movies with the Twilight series. Quite naturally, a smidgen of romance is worked into the plot, with the presence of a sweet-natured girl (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) whom the future president weds and adores unconditionally. Twists in the screenplay ensure that there is more than meets the eye: even the virtuous can be vampires in sheep's clothing.
Fairly engaging, the high-concept movie is remarkable especially for its set designs, costumes and tempo of story-telling. Walker makes for a convincing young Lincoln and is supported ably by Dominic Cooper. It might help if you suspend your sense of disbelief, though, to thrill to the notion of a President who wages the kind of deadly war associated with Hollywood super-heroes like Batman and Spiderman.
In fact, something tells you that a sequel may already be in the works.