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ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter gets most things right until it whiffs on a tremendously silly climax that involves the sixteenth president personally overseeing a secret mission to save the Union Army at Gettysburg. Unfortunately, Seth Grahame-Smith, the author of the book upon which AL:VH is based, is proving far less resourceful as a screenwriter than as a historical revisionist (see Dark Shadows). A quick perusal of the book’s plot reveals a much more believable retelling of the Lincoln mythology; the movie not so much. Requiring fewer leaps of stylistic logic than director Timur Bekmambetov’s last movie, Wanted, the Russian helmer of Nightwatch/Daywatch still throws in a smattering of ridiculously unrealistic fight choreography. Little-known Benjamin Walker, who resembles a young Liam Neeson, acquits himself adequately as Lincoln. No other performance—all villainous vamps and useless sidekicks—matters. Had Grahame-Smith stuck more closely to his novel, AL:VH might have worked better. The key to historical revisionism is to hew as closely to the truth as possible. Then again, some whimsies—say, a stovepipe-hatted president fighting vampires on a train—might be better off left on the page as they look far too ridiculous in the cinematic light. ]]>

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