How do you destroy a great man? Well, you let Hollywood get their hands on the history of a great man and warp and twist it so much that you change him from a man of the people, into a man who was driven by vengeance and a man who was a master at killing vampires. No, not the pretty glowing kind that the Twilight movies have come to make us believe they are, but the hideous and disgusting ones that are out to kill and dominate our country. Pathetic right?
I’m not going to waste too much time summing up the plot of this movie as it’s just not worth it. Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) as a young boy witnessed his mother murdered by a vampire. That alone drives his hatred and vengeance of the creatures that allows him to be recruited by a renegade vampire (Dominic Cooper) who teaches him how to kill the bloodsuckers by swinging his silver-tipped ax.
As if history isn’t being warped enough, a young Lincoln witnesses his young black friend Will being beaten. This seems to instill an early childhood disgust at slavery. True history has shown that while Lincoln did abolish slavery, the real story is much more involved than Hollywood would like to lead you to believe.
Let’s get right down to it, this film does have some decent action sequences, but they’re so few and far between you’re left sitting for what seems like forever waiting and wondering whether or not when they’re going to come. Rufus Sewell, the lead vampire is a formidable match to Lincoln, but we only get brief scenes where the two of them are matched up.
Action sequences feature quick cuts and animation was seemingly done at a low-budget it looks fake. All-in-all the action is fairly disappointing but reasonable when it comes to an action movie.
The story has some interesting parts to it. I will say that it is moderately interesting how they were able to take fact and weave in fiction, especially given that Lincoln’s history is so well-known. Where the real disappointment comes though is that when there is something that is remotely interesting, it comes, and then just sits there. The pacing of the film is just so completely off it makes you want to look at your watch and scream.
Considering that this is a Tim Burton produced film, one should expect much more from the production. The director, Timur Bekmambetov simply doesn’t know how to handle this film. The material is taken well too seriously where there should be a little less seriousness taken. Pacing is completely off and effects seem low-budget to me.
This is a film that horror fans are likely going to flock to see. But what they’re going to find disappointing is there’s relatively no horror in this film. It’s a disappointing take on a great man’s life by warping and sucking the very life out of history.
FINAL GRADE: D +
Reel Film News Movie Review by Bill Ayres