Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What's in a name?

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is almost exactly what one would expect from a film of that name. It is not likely to be troubling Academy voters come Awards season, but where else are you going to see Abraham Lincoln flail an axe before plunging it into a vampire's face?

The script is poor, the characterisation practically non-existent - although, there is a surprisingly long stretch in the middle of the movie during which the filmmakers attempt to inject some sort of pathos into proceedings - and the story has few, if any, real surprises. That is what it is not.

What it is is a film of simple pleasures. It is about the joy of twirling an axe, being tall and wearing a long jacket. And while Timur Bekmambetov may not be the best storyteller the world has ever know, he certainly has a sense of visual style, which is more than can be said for a lot of the most high-profile filmmakers working in Hollywood today.

The film owes a lot to video games in terms of both its narrative - mini-bosss, level boss and end-boss - and its design. Some of the sequences are terrifically well conceived, whereas others have a 'Walking with Dinosaurs' look and feel about them and are terribly clunky.

On the John Carpenter scale of B-movie greatness - the barometer by which all others must be judged - Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is better than Ghosts of Mars, but not as good as Vampires. So, we are at the lower end of the scale, but, just to put that in context, Vampires, in which James Woods and Billy Baldwin play a couple of grizzled old blue-collar vampire hunters for whom blood, horror and violence are just another part of the day job, is a (not so) guilty pleasure of mine.

What else would you expect from a film called Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter?


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