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|Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter|
dir Timur Bekmambetov
scr Seth Grahame-Smith
prd Timur Bekmambetov, Tim Burton, Jim Lemley
with Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Rufus Sewell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Marton Czokas, Jimmi Simpson, Erin Wasson, Alan Tudyk, Joseph Mawle, Robin McLeavy, Frank Brennan
release UK 20.Jun.12, US 22.Jun.12
Night watch: Mackie and Walker
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
A riotous combination of rah-rah American patriotism and overwrought special effects nonsense, this cheeky bit of fantasy history is rather good fun. Yes, it's also completely ridiculous, but the visual flair and fast pace keep us happily entertained.
Young Abe Lincoln (Walker) is determined to get revenge against the sinister Barts (Czokas), who had something to do with his mother's death. But it turns out that Barts is immortal, so Abe's new friend Henry (Cooper) trains him in how to fight vampires. Meanwhile, Abe pursues a career in politics, marries Mary (Winstead) and discovers that the alpha vampire (Sewell) is using the Civil War as a cover for bloodsuckers to take over America. Along with his intrepid friends (Mackie and Simpson), Abe sets out to turn the tide at Gettysburg.
Screenwriter (and novelist) Grahame-Smith has a lot of fun with history and real historical figures, subverting real events by packing in all kinds of nutty backstage goings-on. Meanwhile, Bekmambetov does his usual visual magic by keeping everything whirling, often in super slo-mo, with bullets flying, axes slashing, teeth chomping and rather a few too many whizzy gadgets for us to take anything remotely seriously. Not that we could with this kind of plot.
Walker certainly has the right physicality for the role, tall and lanky, and somehow carrying off both the Amish beard and the super-high top hat. Although he also has a whiff of the bland American action hero about him, which never makes much of his chemistry with the lively Cooper and Winstead. Up against them, Sewell, Czokas and Wasson are one-note snarling villains who come up with some of the most mind-bogglingly silly plans imaginable.
But then this numbskull plotting at least gives Bekmambetov plenty of fuel for his crazed action set-pieces. The fiery climax is particularly over-the-top, from a mammoth wooden train trellis conveniently located in the rolling Pennsylvania countryside to a full-on recreation of the Battle of Gettysburg. The film is so corny that you can't help but laugh when the screenwriter drops in yet another earnest political speech about liberty. And the special effects are so preposterous that you've just got to but sit back and enjoy the show.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2012 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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