20 July 2012

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (review)

Went and saw this movie earlier this week (it just recently went up in Swedish cinema's). I have to admit that I had somewhat  looked forward to seeing this movie, not because I was convinced it would be a flawless movie - but I was hoping for a good B movie equal to the entertainment value of Planet Terror, Hobo with a Shotgun and other movies along those lines. The trailer was a mixed bag, but it just had something that got me interested.

Unfortunately the actual movie is a mixed bag just like the trailer. Which is a shame because there are some really good moments and scenes in this movie, and then you get something silly or a cringe worthy line that spoils the moment and takes you out of it.

The movie starts out with young Abe watching his mother being killed by a vampire and he promises himself to avenge her and kill the vampire responsible for her death. Once he grows up he comes across this enigmatic vampire hunter that promise to learn Abe how to fight and kill vampires if Abe would be willing to take some vampire contracts in return.

So the first third/almost half of the movie is about young 20 something Abe working as a grocery clerk and hunting vampires. Everything up to this point had been pretty damn good. The effects were great, vampire CGI were awesome and quite terrifying. Abe and his mentor had a silly moment which made the audience in my theater laugh at the stupidity (seen in the trailer where Abe chops a tree with a single blow) but it was the only flaw. However somewhere around the middle the movie starts piling plotpoints, adding characters and broadening the scope.

Adding a master vampire villain, politics, slavery, a love interest, presidency and so on. This dilutes the movie, makes it to be about too many things - and most importantly makes it less about actual vampire hunting  awesomeness. I don't know if it would have been possible ( I know it's based on a book ) but for the sake of the movie I think it would have been better to exclude half of the distractions and to focus more on the "hunting" because it was in those scenes where the movie was at its best. The more of a plot the movie tried to conceive the more it started to fall apart.

The problem with the main villain is that he feels thrown in (I've read that he is not in the book), he has very little to do and while well played by Rufus Sewell he's actually a lot less charismatic and interesting compared to the initial vampire villain. The main villain also has a female henchman that is completely pointless and only really used to advance the plot in one short scene (which could have been handled by any random vampire).

The movie, for the most part looks very nice. Especially the nighttime scenes, many of the fights where Abe is swinging his silver coated axe at the bloodsuckers are also well executed and interesting. But, a lot of the movie has this annoying yellow tint to it (mostly provided by the damn 3D glasses), and the 3D itself was somewhat off. My friend agreed that the movie looked weird in places. It was completely impossible to read the text if you would have wanted to as it was distorted, and some scenes kept "flickering" around certain on screen details. This sucked because there were some really nice 3D scenes in this movie that added depth, one civil war battle scene and a couple of environmental scenes.

However the 3D was also used for 2 preposterous scenes, one involving a herd of stampeding horses, and the other a train going over a bridge. They felt too much over the top even for this movie. The director is the same guy who made Night Watch, and you can really sense and see his influence over the direction and special effects. There are a lot of stylized scenes that are completely unrealistic but still manage to work because they look good. Other CGI in the movie is also quite good, like when the vampires make themselves invisible or change appearance (one scene has wonderful animal eye effects on the vampires).

But in the end the movie falls short and feels like a mediocre experience. Full of promise, and indeed with some very good bits in it - but it is dragged down by several scenes of really cringe worthy dialogue and stuff that will annoy you. The ending can only please a moron and has to be one of the most retarded “twists” I have seen in a movie – especially considering the plot pressed the issue that time was of the essence (you will know when you use it). Naturally I did not go into this movie expecting anything else than B movie entertainment but I don't think it delivered.

It did however give me a few ideas for miniature wargaming, more specifically ideas for Empire of the Dead. So there was at least that. Btw am I alone thinking that the main character resembled Liam Neeson?

5.5/10

4 comments:

  1. Eh, hrm, not sure if I want to go see it now or not. *sigh*

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  2. I too had high hopes for the movie and walked away very disappointed.. in fact, I walked away laughing. It was awful mostly.

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  3. Thanks for the review. Wont be watching this one I guess

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  4. Thanks for the honest review, I will still watch it though and make my own mind up

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