2012 will be known as the year that two major motion pictures were released with the 16th President of the USA as the protagonist. One of them was watched by me this afternoon. Abraham Lincoln : Vampire Hunter is based on the 2010 mashup novel of the same name and directed by Timur Bekmambetov, who also co-produced along with Tim Burton. Benjamin Walker plays the title role, Dominic Cooper, Mary Elisabeth Winstead, Anthony Mackie & Jimmi Simpson are the other main actors in this film.
The movie & novel are based on the fantasy that Lincoln had a secret identity as that of a vampire hunter, killing off numerous vampires that plagued the United States. Lincoln’s comes to the aid of a young slave boy, William Johnson, from being beaten by plantation owner Jack Barts. Enraged Barts then turns his fury on Abe but when Abe’s father interferes, the family ends up losing their job in the plantation. That night, Lincoln sees Barts break into his house and attack Nancy. She dies shortly afterwards. Thomas tells Lincoln that Barts poisoned Nancy. Several years later, after his father too dies, Abe is tracking Barts and finds him at the docks and has plans to kill him – however Barts is in fact a vampire and it is only the intervention of Henry Sturgess that saves Abe from certain death. Henry tells Abe about vampires and after the younger man has healed, agrees to train Abe on how to hunt & kill them.
After a length training period, Abe goes to Springfield, Illinois where he gets a job from Joshua Speed (Jimmi Simpson) as a shopkeeper while he studies Law and is reunited with his childhood friend William. Abe also meets and falls in love with Mary Todd. Henry informs Abe about the names & locations of various vampires who are passing off as humans and Lincoln kills them off one by one until he finally meets Barts again and defeats him (after a magnificent fight & chase scene in a large field full of running horses). However Barts reveals to Lincoln that Henry himself is a vampire – which Abe sees for himself. Henry explains that years ago, his fiance was killed & he was bitten by Bart’s maker Adam – since Henry’s soul wasn’t completely pure, he became a vampire himself. However that prevented him from harming Adam or any other vampire (since only the living can kill the dead) so he trains humans to become hunters. Lincoln is disappointed and leaves but Adam who learns of his activities and kidnaps Johnson to lure Lincoln into a trap at his plantation. Adam captures Lincoln and tries to recruit him, revealing his plans to turn the United States into a nation of the undead. With the help of Speed, Lincoln & William escape from there and leave to Ohio, where Lincoln & Mary get married.
Lincoln decides to enter politics, much to the chagrin of Henry Sturges. Lincoln says that to attack the vampires, they must cut of their food source – the slaves. He also says that until every man is free, all of mankind are slaves. Lincoln puts aside his axe and is determined to end the scourge of vampires and slavery through political means. After he is elected President in 1860, the secession of the southern states and the start of the American Civil War are triggered as an effect. Adam’s consort Vadoma sneaks into the White House disguised as a maid and kills Lincoln’s son, Willy. Henry appears at the White House and offers to turn Willy into a vampire so that he will “live” again, but Lincoln is unwilling to allow it. Instead Lincoln orders the confiscation of all the silverware to produce silver weapons. Speed, believing that Lincoln is tearing the nation apart, informs Adam that Lincoln will transport the silver by train. On the train, Adam & his vampires learn that they were tricked – the boxes only contained rocks – to lure them onto the train. Speed is killed by Adam while the train is hurling towards a burning bridge about to collapse. Lincoln kills Adam using a silver watch that Henry gave him and goes back with his friends. At Gettysburgh, the real shipment of silver arrives safely and Vadoma is killed by Mary. The now leaderless Confederate vampires stage a final, massive assault and are met head on by the Union. Armed with their silver weapons, the Union soldiers destroy the vampires and eventually win the battle.
Lincoln gives his famous speech and all is well for 2 years. Sturges tells Lincoln that the remaining vampires have fled the country. Sturges tries to convince Lincoln to allow him to turn Lincoln into a vampire, so that he can become immortal and continue to fight vampires, but Lincoln declines and leaves for the theater with his wife, apparently implying he is soon to be assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. As the movie ends, we are in modern times and Sturges approaches a man at a bar in Washington, D.C. as he once approached Lincoln.
Strange movie to watch but I ended up liking it. Not bad and the fight scenes are awesome. 7.5 out of 10 for me!