Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

posted by Nell Minow
B
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating:Rated R for violence throughout and brief sexuality
Profanity:Some strong language
Nudity/Sex:Brief explicit sexual situations, nudity, prostitute
Alcohol/Drugs:Drinking, scenes in bar
Violence/Scariness:Extensive, intense, graphic, bloody violence including Civil War battles, vampires, stampede, guns, knives, ax, sad deaths of parent and child
Diversity Issues:A theme of the movie
Movie Release Date:June 22, 2012

Now, that’s a President.  Abraham Lincoln, previously best remembered for the penny, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Civil War, the Gettysburg Address, the humor, the honesty, and the height, is now re-imagined with all of that plus a rail-splitting ax tipped with silver that he swings like the grand marshall of a marching band to chop off the heads of vampires.

Russian-Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov is known for hyper-violent films with striking visuals (“Wanted,” “Daywatch,” “Nightwatch”), here working with superstar cinematographer Caleb Deschanel as director of photography, is well suited to telling this story.  It is surprisingly absorbing for an idea that sounds like it could easily be all concept and pointy teeth.

We meet young Abe as a boy, risking his life to defend his best friend Will, an African-American boy about to be whipped by the cruel man who oversees the docks.  This rebellion gets Abe’s father fired, and also inflicts a more insidious revenge.  Those who are familiar enough with Lincoln’s history well enough to know that the mother he loved, Nancy Hanks, died when he was nine will guess what is going to happen when she is stricken with a mysterious illness.  Those who expect to see his step-mother, his first love, Anne Rutledge, or more than one of his sons will have to wait for the Steven Spielberg biopic coming out next year.  As the title suggests, his one is more about killing vampires in a lot of different settlings, with a lot of spurting blood.  In 3D.

At first, it is about revenge.  But then Lincoln meets the dissolute but somehow trustworthy Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), who cues up the training montage by telling Lincoln he must learn how to swing his ax with enough force to knock down a tree with one blow — and teaches him to do it by thinking about what he hates most.  “It’s quite a feat to kill that which is already dead.”  Sturgess warns Lincoln that if he is going to hunt vampires he cannot have any friends or romantic connections.  But after Lincoln moves to Springfield, Illinois, he soon has both, with Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson) and pretty Mary Todd (the always-winning Mary Elizabeth Winstead).  The head vampire, meaningfully named Adam (Rufus Sewell), is planning to take over America from his decaying plantation in New Orleans.  When he invites some of his slaves to a party, it’s not “Mandingo;” it’s “Soylent Green.”

The attempt to weave the vampires into historical events is less gimmicky than it sounds because slavery is so abhorrent it makes more sense that it would require supernatural evil for something so essentially inhumane.  But this is all about the fight scenes, and they are striking, even beautiful seen as abstractions, if you stop thinking of them as decapitations and impalings.  Like its source material, its effort to straddle genres is sometimes awkward, its storyline overwhelmed by too many action set-pieces.  Star Benjamin Walker’s stiff make-up does not allow for much acting.  Despite some murkiness from the post-production 3D, the visuals are powerful and the action scenes impressively staged.  And it is refreshing to see a politician who is so good at getting things done.


Parents should know that this film includes extended and extremely intense and graphic bloody violence involving vampires with guns, axe, fire, stampede, beheading and impaling, sad deaths of a parent and a child, slavery, brief explicit sexual situations with some nudity and a prostitute, and drinking.

Family discussion: How did the historical facts and characters provide a framework for the story? Why didn’t Lincoln follow Stugess’ advice?

If you like this, try: the director’s other films, “Daywatch,” “Nightwatch,” and “Wanted” and the book by Seth Grahame-Smith — and get ready for the historical Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film, to be released at the end of the year.



Previous Posts

What Happened to All the Great Quotable Movie Lines?
Michael Cieply has a fascinating piece in the New York Times about the movie lines we love to quote and why there don't seem to be any new ones. Look through all of the top ten lists of the year, and see if you can think of one quotable line from any of them. That doesn't mean they aren't well wri

posted 3:58:57pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

George Clooney and the Cast of Downton Abbey
You don't have to be a fan of "Downton Abbey" (or "Mr. Selfridge") to love this hilarious spoof, with guest appearances by Jeremy Piven, George Clooney and the Absolutely Fabulous Joanna Lumley. [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ryo7fqdmcGQ?rel=0" frameborder="0"] [

posted 1:43:50pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Ask Amy Says: A Book on Every Bed
I love to remind people about Amy Dickinson's wonderful "Book on Every Bed" proposal: Here’s how it happens: You take a book (it can be new or a favorite from your own childhood). You wrap it. On Christmas Eve (or whatever holiday you celebrate), you leave the book in a place where Santa is

posted 12:00:42pm Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: Matthew Llewellyn, Composer for Wally Lamb's "Wishin' and Hopin'"
Wishin' and Hopin' is Lifetime movie airing December 21, 2014, based on the novel by Wally Lamb. It stars Molly Ringwald and Meat Loaf with narration by Chevy Chase. Composer Matthew Llewellyn was kind enough to answer my questions about creating a score for this nostalgic holiday story. How d

posted 9:40:56am Dec. 20, 2014 | read full post »

Wild's Cheryl Strayed Has a New Advice Podcast
Before Wild, Cheryl Strayed was the pseudonymous "Dear Sugar" advice columnist for The Rumpus. Her columns were collected in Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar. Writer Steve Almond (Candyfreak: A Journey through the Chocolate Underbelly of America) also wrote as Dear Su

posted 3:59:40pm Dec. 19, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.