HTS Moderator , Reviewer
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9577[/img]Title: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
Starring: Rufus Sewell, Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
Directed by: Timur Bekmambetov
Written by: Seth Grahame-Smith
Runtime: 105 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: October 23rd, 2012
HTS Overall Score:84
We’ve been lied to all these years! For decades, nay centuries, this country has been tricked into believing that Abraham Lincoln was just a man on a mission to liberate this country from evils of slavery. However, it’s clear that the whole truth has not been available to the public, until now.
When Abraham Lincoln was a 9 year old boy story has it that his mother died due to poisoned milk, however truth be told she died of a much more serious cause, being bitten by a vampire. Our story unfolds with Abraham Lincoln’s father refusing to pay back a debt he owed to a wealthy, but cruel Landowner named Jack Barts (Martin Csokas). The only problem with this was that Jack Barts was not just a southern aristocrat, but the fact that he was a soulless vampire. As retribution for his insolence Abe’s father watched his wife die in front of his eyes after being bitten. Abe grows up nursing a smoldering hatred for Barts. Once his father has passed away Abraham sets out on a quest for vengeance, almost dying in the process after being hopelessly outmatched against the powerful Jack Barts. As luck would have it Abraham is saved by a Vampire hunter named Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper) who happens to be passing by. Henry takes Lincoln under his wing and trains him in the art of hunting vampires, giving him the tools and weapons he needs to systematically hunt down and wipe out the undead. Under the guise of studying to become a lawyer, young Lincoln heads to the town of Springfield, Illinois to await notification from Henry of his first target. While waiting there he meets a young lady we all know as Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Smitten with Miss Todd, Lincoln struggles with the lonely life of a vampire hunter and wanting a family of his own. Finally, after years of waiting, Lincoln receives the message that he has been waiting for. Barts, his old enemy is finally within his grasp. Exacting revenge upon the nefarious vampire has its price, Barts rips a token of Lincoln from him during the ensuing battle leaving the vampire leadership with knowledge of who is systematically culling their kind. It appears that not only are the vampires more numerous than anticipated, but their leader, Adam, the very first vampire and the father of them all has a plan for taking over the entire United States.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9578[/img]Fearing the worst for his great nation Abraham Lincoln puts down his silver coated axe and puts all his effort into the law, trying to use words instead of weapons as his tools to stop the vampire horde from gaining control. All seems well; he frees the slaves (the largest food supply of the vampires) and declares war on the seceding states. The war goes well until Adam (Rufus Sewell) starts adding his OWN troops to the confederate army and the Union troops go from being in control to be over run in a matter of weeks. Not only that, Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie, fell ill and died of the same “disease” that took his mother (previously history has told us that Willie died of Typhoid fever). Grief stricken, Abraham has all but given up hope only to come upon a plan that requires him to take up his axe once more, for a final bout with Adam and his vampire horde.
All right, for those of you expecting a serious action movie, turn back now, with a name like “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” I’m sure you’ve guessed at this point that director Timur Bekmambetov has his tongue gleefully stuck right in his cheek with this one. This is not a spoof and the movie doesn’t take itself so seriously that it completely loses the ability to absorb one into the story either. Instead Timur decides to take a cheesy concept (one of our oldest and greatest presidents being a vampire hunter), takes a canvas made of cheese, and melts cheese down to use as paint and then uses a brush made entirely of cheese to paint with. However, instead of being silly and stupid, the film manages to rise above that and revel in its unbelievable source material so much that it becomes believable. So many films before this have failed on the fact that they were winking at the screen, spoofing their own film, or becoming so serious that you just roll your eyes. Instead the characters in the film take themselves VERY seriously and at the same time you see Timur teasing us with tongue and cheek situational humor that had me cheering in one scene only to die laughing at the next.
Now I love big stupid movies, it’s a curse I know, but many of them are nothing, but giant audio/video fests that have passable storylines meant to get you from one action scene to the next. Here the movie is big and with a wildly outlandish plotline, yet still manages to be completely fun from beginning to end. I LOVED every minute of “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter”, from the dripping cheese prevalent in every scene to the over the top action scenes where Abe takes down dozens of vampires armed with nothing but a silver coated axe. The most fun I’ve had in a theater (except for Avengers of course) and at home for a very very long time. If you’re expecting something serious and realistic, it’s time to move on, and if you’re expecting a wildly humorous spoof on source material it’s time for an expectations re-adjust. Instead we have a film that manages to say serious itself, yet revel in cheese and humor at the same time.
Rated R for violence throughout and brief sexuality
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9579[/img]Timur Bekmambetov has always heavily stylized his films, and this is no different. The film’s color palette is heavily muted and the film switches between a very heavy teal or orange color grading depending on the scene. While I understand that it is intentional the contrast is also boosted dramatically and as a result detail can be obscured, especially in the bright outdoor scenes. Also darkness is usually accompanied by a foreboding mist that tends to make the picture look a bit murky at times. With this out of the way you can tell that a lot of work went into this encode, Facial detail (when not obscured by blasting contrasts) is exceptional and shows just how much detail is hiding behind those stylistic choices. Darks are excellent, for being such a murky picture at night there is nary of hint of black crush and shadows are extremely well replicated. While it shows great promise in some scenes the stylistic choices of Timur Bekmambetov draw the film back from being an eye candy fest that it might have been otherwise.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=9580[/img]Now the audio, on the other hand, suffers from no such hindrances. This is a loud and aggressive action track to be sure, bullets whistle by your head, individual hoof steps of horses can be heard distinctly during a wild stampede and even the crunch of leaves is heard cleanly and clearly, subtle but distinct. Dialogue is lodged firmly in the center channel as it should be and the dynamic range is very balanced. Not once was I forced to raise and lower the volume due to the vocals and affects being out of balance with the other. Surrounds are used exquisitely, from the simple ambient noises of a forest to the thundering sounds of a train whizzing by at breakneck speeds I heard all channels of my theater system light up and truly bring into the center of the action. LFE was good, very balanced and subtle for an action film. It accentuated the score for much of the track and came in with some very rich action scenes and once or twice dropped into the mid teens hertz wise with some serious raise the hairs moments. Again it’s not thunderous and constant ala transformers, but a more subdued and balanced feel to it, accurate and clean.
• The Great Calamity Graphic Novel
• The Making of "Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter"
- Dark Secrets: Book to Screen
- On Location
- Vampire Hunting: Fight Photography
- The Art of Transformation : Makeup Effects
- A Visual Feast - Timur Bekmambetov's Visual Style
• Writer's Audio Commentary
• "Powerhouse" Music Video by Lincoln Park
“Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” is quirky, crazy and over the top, but a total blast from beginning to end. It’s nothing that’s going to shake the foundations of film history or gain access into the Oscars this year, but it’s something that will entertain fans of good bloody action for years to come. I first saw the teaser for it months ago in the theaters and my first reaction was “uh-huh? This ought to be horrible”, the next time I saw a full trailer it looked so outlandish that it MIGHT be interesting, by the third trailer I was completely stoked for seeing it in the theaters. However with great hype comes great disappointment, but luckily for me it ACTUALLY lived up to the hype in my mind. A great stylized action movie mixed solid audio video scores means that I give this a solid thumbs up.
Buy Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter on Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It!