Rated: R for violence throughout and brief sexuality. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: June 22, 2012 Released by: Twentieth Century Fox
Director: Timur Bekmambetov has a tough sell with the premise of this screen play by Seth Grahame. This story places the weight of Vampires taking over the United States as part of the Civil War, it assumes that poor Lincoln didn't have enough of a problem battling the war which split the nation it was necessary for him to carry a silver edged axe to knock off legions of blood suckers who are part of the revolution from the Southern States. It's a silly idea.
The Lincoln connection may attract some but a straight story of an unknown working parallel to history would have had more logic, if we accept the vampire basis of the story.
The young Mr. Lincoln Is introduced to the night visitors early in life when one visits and drains the life from his mother just after he battles to help Will Johnson (Anthony Mackie) a young black kid who is pushed around by a dirty tooth bully. Lincoln quickly learns he is up against the living dead, Vampires who are very difficult to kill. This is not very different from many stories of the blood thirsty Dracula followers.
Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) tells the story from his view of history and his unusual role as a patriot Vampire who saves Lincoln's life early on. Benjamin Walker plays Lincoln effectively enough to project the tension and pain the Civil War President carries. Before politics with the help of Sturgess he becomes the avenging angel, with this silver coated axe, who buries his prey while wearing his high stovetop hat.
In the middle of the violence and blood there is a very sweet engagement scene with Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who in this film helps battle the Vampires from the South during the war.
There is no need for Lincoln in the script; this is just a Vampire film which takes place in the eighteen hundreds in the United States. Rufus Sewell with his strange eyes is Adam the chief Vampire who makes a deal with the South to share power after a victorious win for the southern states. Just about that time the film turns to slavery and the Lincoln vs. Douglas Debates.
Just think if the South had won the war Dracula might be President. That idea brings us to think how silly the idea of this plot is.
Art work, special effects and the 3D are spectacular and a little over used. They add to the action particularly in the battle to move a train over a burning rail bridge. On the other hand battling in the center of runaway horses looks phony and more than ridiculous. The use of bleached appearing scenes also set the tone for the period quite effectively.
If a battle between a hatchet wielding Lincoln and Dracula is a little too much to accept Vampire Lincoln will be difficult to appreciate.
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