Prez Abe kicks butt
Russian-Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch) stays close to his fanged comfort zone with this toothsome version of a not-unimportant moment in the American Civil War, in which the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation was actually drawn up by Lincoln as part of a plan to sabotage Confederate collusion with Southern vampires.
Talk about your alternative history.
The story is so far off the normality-meter that it’s tempting to sit back and examine the meta-implications of casting Brits Rufus Sewell and Dominic Cooper as the super-bad and moderately good vampires Adam and Henry Sturges. Which war are we fighting again?
You’d think that co-producer Tim Burton might have a sounder grasp, not only of history but also of just how willing audiences are to suspend belief for the sake of a gurgle. It’s one thing to set Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) up as an axe-wielding youth revenging the vampirical death of his mother by fighting a vampire epidemic in Springfield, Illinois. It’s quite another to slip back onto historical ground via marriage and the Presidency, only for Lincoln to pick up said axe again to avenge the death of his son. And deal with a vampire-instigated Civil War.
That stovepipe hat might be the only credible thing about this film. Try it, for occasional laughs and one excellent horse chase, on Halloween? Maybe.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter | Directed by Timur Bekmambetov (USA 2012) with Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper. Starts October 3