I was originally planning to pretend that I thought this movie was a documentary (as I've been doing all week with my friends and coworkers by saying shit like "I can't wait to see that new documentary coming out in theaters this weekend. You know, the Abraham Lincoln one...."), but while I was in line for tickets for the flick last Friday I heard some extremely dorky and pathetic geek in a "Bazinga!" Big Bang Theory T-shirt make the same "joke" to his equally mentally handicapped friends, and I had to slap myself (after slapping him [with a hammer]). So that ain't gonna happen. Anyway, on with the show!
Okay, I take it that you're all familiar with the man known as Abraham Lincoln, yes? 32nd President of the United States of America? First Bull Moose Party official to get elected to the highest office in the land? Looked like a monkey in a stove pipe hat with an Amish beard? The guy whose most famous quote after waking up from a bender after the Gettysburg victory of the Union Army during the War of 1812 was "I freed the WHAT?!" He's pretty famous you know. He's known for being wise and patient and righteous, and he even got his mug carved into Monument Valley with George Washington and FDR... But apparently this wasn't enough for the author of the original book and the makers of the movie Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Nope, on top of being the poster child for self-motivation (rising from piss-poor log cabin builder, to a pretty good lawyer, to the bestest president ever, 100% on his own), and known as The Great Unifier and the Nasty Emancipator, it was deemed that in order to stay relevant with today's (less than bright) audiences he had to become an action hero for the 21st Century. But who would be Honest Abe's Darth Vader in an explosiony film of epic proportions? Who would he need to vanquish like Voldemort?
*Psssssssst!* The answer is of course "vampires." Because why the hell not?
This whole movie was absolutely ridiculous, but not (always) in a bad way. When they took the source material seriously it was actually quite entertaining, and I really got into it (as bizarre and insane as it all sounds) — it's just when they went for physics-bending ludicrousness that I simply shook my head in disbelief that a movie named Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter actually went there.
Example: When Abe is trained to be the next bad-ass vamp assassin, and he uses his anger and righteousness to chop a 12-inch-thick tree down in one blow, well, that's cool — over the top, yes, but also cool. When he has a fight with a vampire in the middle of a never-ending horse stampede, and the vampire THROWS A FUCKING HORSE at Abe... And Abe CATCHES the horse, flips it around so that it lands on its hooves, and then RIDES the beast after the evil bloodsucker... No. I just... No. Too much. It doesn't make you cheer along with Abe's ability, it makes you laugh. Then when we see Abe use his silver-edged battle axe to slaughter the fuck out of the undead in glorious slo-mo scenes of body-mutilating violence and blood squirts that shoot right at the camera, well, that's pretty awesome. But then we get an action spectacle with Abe and his sidekicks being hunted by vamps on a train that's crossing a GIGANTIC wooden trestle bridge that's on fire, and they run, jump, punch, kick, and axe-swing on top of the train as if there was no wind resistance and they were in the Matrix... then no. No thanks. It looked strange when Neo did it, and it looks so out of place in 1865 with an aged Abe Lincoln.
Okay, let me just leap right into the plot of AL:VH for you, because it's... It's something to behold.
So it all starts off with Abe as a kid sticking up for his little black friend who's getting whipped by an evil douchebag slaver named Barts. Barts is Abe's daddy's boss, and he fires Mr. Lincoln because of Abe's awesomeness, and then he sneaks into the Lincoln house that night and sucks Mrs. Lincoln's veins dry. Because not only is he a slaver, but he's a vampire as well. Douche supreme.
Abe, horrified after witnessing the suckfest, grows up with only revenge on his mind. Before he sprouts his trademarked rugged beard he finally grows a pair and tries to blow Barts' brains out, but only manages to put a bullet in the undead dude's eye. Barts almost manages to kill Abe, but luckily a stranger (one mysterious fellow named Henry Sturgess) comes to Lincoln's rescue and throws Barts off the gangly lad (WAY off the lad... Like two counties away). Henry then nurses Abe back to health, explains that he's a vampire
slayer hunter-trainer himself, and then teaches Abe to be the ultimate Cuisinart bad ass of swirling silver-coated axes that the world of the undead has ever seen. He then promises Abe that he'll get a crack at taking out Barts once and for all as long as he does what he's told and kills all the vampires that Henry's uncovered living in Illinois at the time (which is a shit-ton).
Soon we find out that vampires are flocking to the United States (well, mostly the South), because there they can actually BUY their food supply nice and legal there, and take their time to build their power base enough to never fear the
slayers hunters again. Well, Abe won't be having any of that shit, so instead of just taking out the vamps that Henry is feeding him one at a time, he decides to go into politics, bang Mary Todd, become president, and end slavery (and the Southern vampires' unending smorgasbord) all at once. And yes, most of the slave owners in the South are monsters because you have to wonder how it's possible to make people owning and abusing other people (in movies and books in this day and age) even worse than they already are... The answer is "make them soulless vampires," duh.
Well, of course the mustache-twiddling evil vamps will be having none of that, so in the middle of the Civil War (what's so civil about war anyway?) that's erupted over the issue of slavery, they kill President Lincoln's young son Willy as a warning, but all this does is PISS HIM OFF, and he then single handedly comes up with a cunning plan to blow away the vicious undead Rebel army that's starting to wear down the Northern troops at the key Battle of Gettysburg.... But little does Honest Abe know that there's a traitor in his inner circle, and bad things are in store for him in the final battle for fate, and the ultimate showdown of ultimate destiny...
I have to admit that I was really jazzed about the whole idea behind this movie. I mean, Abe Lincoln versus vampires! That's only second to him meeting Bill and Ted in coolness ratings! And the previews to this flick actually looked like it was playing the idea seriously (not tongue in cheek or wink-wink, nudge-nudge the whole way through), and that got me really intrigued... But the end result was... No, it wasn't bad, not at all. In fact, I'd pay to see it again. The regular action sequences were fun and bloody, but it's just those two big show-stopping scenes (the aforementioned horse-throwing dealio, and the battle on board the burning train) really made me laugh out loud AT the movie, and not with it... I think. Well, in hindsight there's NO WAY those two parts could have been played stone cold seriously, but there's just nothing leading up to them to hint that the director was about to go all Looney Tunes on the unsuspecting audience. It really just pulled me out of the story.
I enjoyed the overall mood of the movie (eerie, creepy, bloody, but bad ass), the music kept things flowing well enough, and the Lincoln in this tale was a pretty good protagonist; he was likable, he was tough as shit nails, and he was clever enough to take down the ancient vamps using his mind more than his muscles (even though his axe-swinging was second only to Uma Thurman's Bride character in its life-slicing abilities). If you have an afternoon to burn, I recommend Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. If you like historical fiction (with very little bits of actual history) and vampires (with less historical, but more vampirey than reality), I recommend Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. If you like blood, revenge, and presidential debates, I recommend Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. If you like to manually masturbate farm animals for the purposes of artificial insemination, I recommend Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It's just good, clean, bloody, ridiculous fun. Smile at its heart, laugh at its goofiness, and cringe at its gore. It's maybe a bit too over the top, but it's still way more entertaining than it should have been.
Are you fucking SHITTIN' me?! After years, decades even, of trying to teach our children about the horrors of slavery in these very United States of America, THIS is the President Lincoln/Civil War movie we get in this day and age? "Slave owners were just vampires? And they ATE slaves?" That's why we had to have a war between the states?
I think our children are stupid enough at history already and don't need this garbage to fuck up they minds any more than they already have been... Next thing we'll see is Trigonometry: The Movie, where 0 = 100, and Pi is infinity. Goddammit, Hollywood!
Finally! Some filmmaker decided to travel back to the 1800s and see with their own eyes what I've been warning your time about for years now: Vampires are out there, and they've made Lincoln one of their undead generals... If you don't wise up and start fighting back you will suffer horrendously from the Great Vampire Wars of 2052, 2709, and 30,401AD -30,413AD... It's your ball, people of Earth. But let me tell you something, when Vampire Lincoln becomes SPACE Vampire Lincoln you're all doomed.