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Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter (DVD)

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Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy - Fantasy / To Be Announced / Director: Timur Bekmambetov / Actors: Benjamin Walker, Anthony Mackie, Dominic Cooper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Rufus Sewell ... / DVD released 2012-10-22 at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL

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    4 Reviews
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      27.09.2013 14:46
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      Entertaining hour and a half of a President fighting vampires

      Much hyped and heavily advertised, Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter looks to redress the tale of America's greatest President, filling it with vampires and vengeance. In doing so, it certainly gives it some vibrance and action, perhaps the antithesis of Daniel Day Lewis' latest acting tour de force: Lincoln. Don't confuse the two films, they couldn't be more different if you tried.

      The film starts off with an ageing Lincoln writing in his journal, reporting that all we read about him is not the whole story. Flashing back to his childhood, we see him defending a friend against slave owners, losing both his parents and then growing to a young adult and trying to exact his revenge. It's here that he meets Henry, a young man of similar age who teaches him how to channel his emotions into fighting those who were responsible for his mother's death: vampires.

      The film progresses at a fast pace, with Abe being sent to live near his home town and being guided in which vampires to hunt and kill, dictated to by the mysterious Henry. Things gather pace, but Henry is keen to point out one major rule: no ties. There must be no emotional ties or he will suffer.

      The film is rather dark. Occasionally the plot jumps from scene to scene with little or no filler to explain. My biggest gripe was with how Abe went from being a young man with no particular skill to all of a sudden being able to fight off superstrength vampires by using only a woodcutter's axe. It's extremely far fetched, but at least it doesn't try and hide from being so.

      The acting just about passes muster. Benjamin Walker starts off a little rusty, if I'm honest, and while I can see we're supposed to doubt him as a hero, he makes the great Abraham Lincoln seem a bit wet, from a character and an acting point of view. As the film progresses he's much more convincing, and I changed my tune and opinion of him before too long. Dominic Cooper is better than good in his supporting role as Henry Sturges, harbouring a dark secret of his own in his guidance of Lincoln's vampire hunting. Cooper has always performed well, in everything I have seen him in, and I must admit that after Walker's shaky start, the sight of him on screen did settle me somewhat.

      As a villain, Rufus Sewell has always acquitted himself well, and this is no exception. As head vampire Adam, he carries himself with authority, unnecessitating the need to reveal any particular skills he has. His timing is perfect here, perhaps because his on screen time is usually restricted to a minimum until it's needed. This is often the downfall of villains - they spend too much time on screen too early and this lessens the impact of their evil presence. Here, Sewell is more prominent as the film draws to a close, which works just right.

      The support on both sides from the leading ladies (Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Mary Todd Lincoln; and Erin Wasson as Adam's mate Vadoma) is solid enough, but the sidekick elements of the heroes tip the balance in their favour with Anthony Mackie as Lincoln's childhood friend Will Johnson and Jimmi Simpson as his employer and eventual friend Joshua Speed. The extra impetus these characters apply to each scene certainly helps with the plot development, at times top the detriment of character development. However, the characters are overshadowed by the special effects and the action scenes, populated with heavy music and a frantic nature. Indeed, even the main focus of Lincoln's revenge, the vampire Jack Barts, is given smaller amounts of screen time than you'd expect given actor's Marton Csokas's prowess on screen of late. I feel he could have turned the screw a bit more on the tension stakes; the time he spends on screen is certainly heightened by his presence. Even a ridiculous scene where he and Lincoln chase each other across horses' backs is edge of the seat because he is in it.

      It ticks through very well, and the sacrifice of character development is justified by an entertaining plot full of action. Director Timur Bekmambetov clearly recognises how protective a nation can be over its most beloved President, and so treats the tale with the attitude it deserves. To introduce any supernatural or fantasy element into pure history requires something of a touch of entertainment, and the fast paced action is well combined with the special effects used not just with the vampires and how they appear, but also with the effects of some of the fight scenes, which are fast and frantic. You do have to suspend disbelief in order to appreciate who is fighting, but I can imagine how this must have been extremely impressive in 3D. The same slow motion action shots used in films such as Sherlock Holmes are also employed well, and I think they are necessary. Without them, you'd easily miss what was going on during half of the fight scenes.

      A well presented film, this certainly seems to have the critics and public split. It was well worth a watch, and I suppose as long as you don't expect greatness then you can be sure to get an hour and a half of entertainment. If you're looking for supposed historical accuracy and a tugging drama to keep you riveted, Spielberg's Lincoln with Daniel Day Lewis is where you should head. For an hour and a half of loose history with some entertaining action, look no further than here.

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        14.08.2013 18:08
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        Bad - and not in a good way.

        When I read the title of this film, "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter" and that Tim Burton had a hand in its production, I expected a dark, quirky and irreverent film - perhaps with a moment or two of comic relief.
        Well, there's certainly no comic relief - no relief of any kind really - from the jaw-dropping weirdness of this film directed by Timur Bekmambetov.

        The plot:

        I'll try not to spoil (ahem) the film for you if you've not had a chance to see it yet. The film begins with old Abe writing in his journal and reminiscing back to his boyhood. We see him growing up within a poor but hard-working family. When a cruel slave master (or could it be a vampire?) attacks a boy because of his colour, both honest Abe and his father try to stop the 'man' only to pay for their interference later, when Abe's mother dies from the venomous bite of the vampire.

        Skip forward a few years and we see Abraham mourning the loss of both parents and looking for revenge. He meets up with a man (or does he?) who tells him he will train him to fight the vampire scourge which is rife throughout the country.

        The film weaves a bizarre battle against the vampire into the historical action of the American Civil War and the fight to abolish slavery. You couldn't make it up - although apparently someone did.

        Vampire 'lore' also gets turned on its head in this film. Don't bother sharpening any pointy stakes - these vampires are best killed with silver bullets or by decapitation. They can become invisible at will and - oh, yes they indulge in the odd spot of 'horse tossing.' I kid you not.


        Acting/Script:

        The acting isn't that bad - Benjamin Walker, who plays the adult Abraham manages to trot out his lines with a straight face and Mary Elizabeth Winstead who plays his wife Mary tries to add a note of realism as the doting girlfriend/wife of the lawyer/politician/vampire hunter. Refus Sewell as a vampire/plantation owner hams up his gory role and Dominic Cooper tries hard to be believable as his friend and fellow hunter.

        Despite the fact that the script was written by the author of the book from which this film stems, Seth Grahame-Smith, the characters never feel fully engaged with, or fully known in this film. This is partly because the film shifts through the story quite quickly and partly because the script doesn't allow them to become known. The script's main focus seems to be to push the plot along - character development seems way down the list of priorities. Hence, we don't care as we should about the fate of these characters.

        Cinematography/Music;

        There is plenty of movement and dramatic action in this film captured with 'speed - pause- pan across the action 3D style' camera work. As a layman I have no idea what you call these sorts of shots, but they seem to be used a lot these days - especially in films like the recent (Robert Downey) Sherlock films. It's very eye-catching, but some of the movements are so fast you feel like you've missed something. There are also plenty of CGI shots, such as one of a mass of steam boats on the river, which are quite well done.

        The soundtrack was also quite decent. It propped up the dark mood of the film and did its best to imbue a modern, 'cool' tone to the film - but I'm afraid nothing could do that.

        Conclusion:
        This film is truly terrible. I believe it's from a genre called 'mash-up fiction' - well, it's more like a dog's breakfast. The different elements of this film: horror/romance/action/fantasy/historical drama get mixed up and presented as a totally unpalatable mess. And it's not art.

        I can't believe I paid a whole fiver for this from Amazon. It's 100 minutes of my life I will never get back.

        Would not recommend. At all. Ever.

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          09.05.2013 15:06
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          Good light hearted vampire fun

          I rented this as my latest choice from Lovefilm, it was one of those films I fancied seeing but not enough to see it at the cinema. I tend to choose films to rent by post on Lovefilm that my husband won't particularly want to watch, knowing he will watch them once they've come through the post. It's evil but has to be done, and as a side note I will order whatever he wants as well, and normally watch his choice.

          Anyway sure enough eventually it came in the post, my husband looked at it made several mutterings about vampires, and about a week later we watched it.

          The Story line
          The story starts with Abraham Lincoln as a young boy who loses his mother to a vampire, he grows up wanting revenge and it is only when he goes to try to kill his mother's attacker that he learns it was a vampire. He is then recruited as a vampire hunter, and it is during this time that he gets into politics, and becomes president.

          The story is quite far fetched, and when he was president and still fighting vampires during the American Civil War I couldn't help trying to picture our primeminister fighting vampires, but no I'm thinking we'd be left to die :)

          Abraham Lincoln is quite moral in the film and there is a definite sense of doing the responsible thing in the film.

          Was it enjoyable
          I enjoyed it, it was light hearted the graphics and special effects were good, and I thought it was good fun. My husband was less keen although he made it to the end without moaning too much, so he must have thought it was ok.

          Would I buy it / Watch it again
          No I wouldn't buy it I think there are better vampire stories out there, even light hearted ones, but it was good enough that if it came on tv I would watch it again.

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            30.12.2012 15:06
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            An interesting concept, but poor excecution

            Having spent a lot of time in hotels recently it has given me an opportunity to catch up on a number of movie's I've been wanting to see for quite some time. The latest of these was Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. I wasn't really sure what to expect from the film but with the Vampire theme I expected to at least enjoy it. The film was a little bit of an unknown as I hadn't really read any reviews of it and strangely didn't know anyone else who had seen it, but I thought I might as well give it a try.

            When his mother is killed by a Vampire whilst he is just a child, Abraham Lincoln vows to take revenge on the man who killed her. He hadn't realised that this man was a Vampire but after a rather aggressive encounter with this beast he meets Henry, someone who claims he can help him. Henry trains him to become a Vampire Hunter and sends Abraham off to Springfield to target the towns Vampire population but things aren't always as they seem and as Abraham falls in love he starts to doubt his mentor. Now he has to make a choice between doings things the right way or do them Henry's way.

            The film comes from director Timur Bekmambetov, who also directed the Angelina Jolie film Wanted. The period style of the movie really captures the time well and Timur has done an excellent job of recreating the 1800's within the film. It's a shame that the script isn't quite as well written as the settings. Whilst it is an impressive looking movie, I really felt that the story was a little clichéd and could have been a lot better. At times the plot is too slow and the action sequences seem to be a little rushed as Abraham tackles the Vampires. There was a lot of potential in the storyline but I didn't really feel that it really delivered.

            The screenplay comes from Seth Grahame-Smith who wrote the novel and also adapted it for the big screen outing, but I feel this is really where the film fell down. With a decent adaptation this could have been a really good movie but instead the impressive look is wasted with a script that just didn't come up to par. It's a shame as I recently seen another of Smith's Vampire themed movies, Dark Shadows, which I actually really enjoyed. There are good parts to the script but I think the pace of the film just let's the screenplay down and what I thought would be a good film just never quite lives up to the promise.

            I don't think the cause is really helped by the casting of Benjamin Walker in the lead role as Abraham Lincoln. He doesn't really have the screen presence to pull the role off and I think that really lets the film down. With a stronger, perhaps more charismatic lead actor would have really made the film considerably better. There is no real connection between Walker and his co-stars either and their appearances on screen together really feel very forced.

            Of course the lack of any star names in the film would explain he lack of interest in the movie and I think had there been a better lead to compliment Dominic Cooper in the co-star role as Henry could have worked well. I thought that Cooper was a decent choice but amongst a cast that doesn't really work he really struggles too. It's a shame as with a better cast and a slightly stronger screenplay this could have been a very good, if not perhaps a slightly bizarre concept for a movie.

            Overall I have to say I was massively disappointed by Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter. I'm still not totally sure what I was expecting when I sat down to watch it but I was certainly expecting something better than the end result. There was potential in this movie and it looks impressive but with disappointing casting and a slightly too slow pace for my liking the film just never really seems to deliver. The conceptual of the movie could have worked but the execution just wasn't as good as it really could or should have been.

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