As we march deeper and deeper into the fall season, the video stores and retailers all across the country are beginning to fill up with the smash hits of the summer that has just passed us by. Out today on DVD and Blu-Ray from our friends at 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is a film based on the bestselling novel where American history gets a little bit of rewrites as the vampire horde fights to keep their foothold in the fledgling nation of America. Get ready for “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”
Starring Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell and Dominic Cooper
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov
When a young President Lincoln’s (Walker) mother is killed by a supernatural creature, the quest for vengeance fuels his entire life as he is inevitably mentored by the mysterious Henry Sturgess (Cooper) in the ways of killing vampires. As his life takes him toward the civil war and invariably greatness, he discovers that the vampires are in higher positions of power then he could have previously imagined and that the Civil War would not only unite a nation but be the final battle ground for humans and vampires in the United States.
Make no mistake, this film is completely ridiculous but it also happens to be the second best action film of this past summer, worthy of a place on anyone’s Blu-Ray shelf. Rather than play the premise for camp and comedy, Bekmambetov, screenwriter Seth-Grahame Smith who also wrote the novel played everything in this film 100% straight. With the blood, bullets and action moving at full throttle this was an adrenaline filled action romp, it’s not serious…and it’s not meant to be but because they kept it above board avoiding any flat out campy territory and it worked like gangbusters, simply because you believed it. The visual effects were the only thing that were slightly over the top in this but it worked exceptionally well because when honestly trying to describe the fact that a vampire throws a moving horse during a stampede while Abe Lincoln catches it and mounts it in one fluid motion to continue the chase…over the top is really the only thing that comes to mind. Combine all these eye popping visuals with an ensemble cast that had the plus of the story to a tee, you’ve got something really fun.
In first feature leading role, Benjamin Walker as Abe Lincoln reinvented as our axe wielding vampire hunter did a fine job as his Lincoln came off as an impersonation of about 30% Bruce Campbell and 70% Liam Nesson but it he made it work as the man who still cared about civil liberties as well as chopping off the heads of vampires. Rufus Sewell as the villainous Adam determined to stake a place for vampire kind in the world at the expense of humanity chewed an appropriate amount of scenery and Dominic Cooper as Henry Sturgess his mentor in the ways of killing vampires manages to be a scene stealer without pulling focus from our star too much. A solid supporting cast with the likes of Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Marton Csokas and Jimmi Simpson rounded out the supporting cast and it really does help films of this nature when the entire cast is on the same page with the kind of film that they are making. This was a straight up blood, bullets and vampires action romp and it worked superbly.
The picture and sound quality on the Blu-Ray pop with a real cold clarity as the edge of his axe shines and the blood pools in the moonlight as Abe Lincoln hunts down vampires. Special features on this Combo Pack release include ‘The Great Calamity’ graphic novel, 5 behind the scenes featurettes making up the making of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”, a feature length audio commentary track from writer Seth Grahame-Smith, the ‘Powerless’ music video from Linkin Park and the theatrical trailer.
At the end of the day, not everyone will get as much of a kick out of “Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter” as this critic did, but for anyone looking for a fun popcorn action flick to get comfy with on their couch, this will be right up their alley.
4 out of 5 stars.
“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” is now available to rent on DVD & Blu-Ray at video stores all across the country; it’s also available for purchase at all major retailers like amazon.ca or HMV.
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