In the midst of sequels, remakes and superhero movies, a different kind of action packed blockbuster is about to make its blood soaked presence known.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. That’s right. Abraham Lincoln…Vampire Hunter, a gloriously ridiculous combination thought up by Pride, Prejudice and Zombies author She Grahame-Green, who along with the films rising star Ben Walker entertained a cinema filled with Sydney’s best entertainment media and lucky competition winners.
Directed by Timur Belmambetov (of Wanted and Nightwatch fame), Abraham Lincoln… promises to be the bat shit crazy, over the top, blood splattering action horror movie many are expecting if the two extended clips played to us is any indication (spoilers ahead).
The first clip features young Abe (Walker) in less than tip top shape after having his ass kicked by a vampire. The man who stops Abe from becoming vampire food, the vampire slayer Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) takes it upon himself to teach Abe the ways of vampire killing, of which he eagerly agrees so he can avenge the death of his mother.
Cue a training montage featuring Abe beaten bloody by Henry in a pitch black cellar and Abe falling in love with a silver coated axe which he proceeds to lay waste to a tree with more fury than Van Damme’s kicks in Kickboxer.
Ready and willing, Abe is sent by Henry into the big bad world with orders to “Kill, president, Kill!” It is at this point we see how intense and violent Abraham Lincoln… can get, with Timur not shy in presenting his vampiric creatures as the blood thirsty demons they are meant to be, nor does he skimp on the ferocious axe wielding violence which Abe dispenses to rid the world of un-dead scum.
But Abraham Lincoln… also fancies itself as a romantic story when Abe first locks eyes on Mary Todd (fanboy favourite Mary Elizabeth Winestead), with Abe leading a double life as gentleman grocery clerk with political aspirations by day, and vampire hunter by night.
So far, so good. The action scenes are nicely handled, the vampires evil and bloodthirsty, and in Ben Walker a superstar is in the making.
However the second clip presented does bring up a glaring issue: that of excessive style with special mention to Timur’s constant overuse of slow motion during the action sequences.
It all takes part on a runaway train, with an older Abe (with nice old man make-up on Walker) and his ally Will Johnson (Anthony Mackie) slaying vampires left and right on top of said train as it veers towards a wooden bridge engulfed in flames. While admittedly cool on one hand, the whole sequence just feels a touch too much, especially with the clunky 3D. (We were later told that the print still had some issues. Hopefully that won’t remain the case come the film’s release).
Timur is known for his excessive style, so fans of his work will most probably get a kick out of what Abraham Lincoln… has to offer. Those unfamiliar with Timur and the book will perhaps find an entertaining albeit loud film, which will suit the blockbuster season.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter will be released in cinemas on August 2