Poor treat­ment for Abe

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

Abra­ham Lin­coln: Vam­pire Hunter Star­ring Ben­jamin Walker, Mary El­iz­a­beth Win­stead, Ru­fus Sewell, Do­minic Cooper. Writ­ten by Seth Gra­hame-Smith, di­rected by Timur Bek­mam­be­tov. 105 min­utes, R16 (hor­ror scenes and vi­o­lence). Show­ing at Read­ing Cine­mas Porirua.

Re­viewed by KYLIE KLEIN-NIXON. Abra­ham Lin­coln, the 16th pres­i­dent of the United States, cut kind of a car­toon­ish fig­ure.

Re­spon­si­ble for chang­ing the face of the US for­ever, kick­start­ing the civil rights move­ment with the Eman­ci­pa­tion Procla­ma­tion, and de­liv­er­ing speeches which could break hearts, most kids know him only as the guy with the freaky chin beard and crazy stovepipe hat.

So it seemed some­how fit­ting that he should pop up in a spec­u­la­tive, su­per­nat­u­ral fan­tasy his­tory as a hands-on bat­tler of evil.

Abra­ham Lin­coln: Vam­pire Hunter is clearly a joke, but one which I thought played on how awe­some Lin­coln was.

‘‘Guess what, the guy who freed the slaves? Also a vam­pire hunter! Amaz­ing.’’

Imag­ine my dis­com­fort at dis­cov­er­ing the joke seems to be ‘‘Abra­ham Lin­coln – freed the slaves be­cause he was a vam­pire hunter’’.

When young Abra­ham Lin­coln (Ben­jamin Walker) sees his mother killed by a vam­pire he sets about hunt­ing down the beast. He’s trained to hunt by the dev­il­ishly hand­some Henry Collins (Do­minic Cooper) whose pas­sion for killing the un­dead dis­guises his own ter­ri­ble se­cret.

When ‘‘Hon­est Abe’’ dis­cov­ers the truth they go their sep­a­rate ways . . . and the rest is lit­er­ally his­tory, in­clud­ing the Amer­i­can Civil War and free­dom for African Amer­i­cans as a back­drop to a se­cret war be­tween vam­pires and

Abra­ham Lin­coln: Vam­pire Hunter. hu­mans. Call me a party pooper, but I have the gravest of reser­va­tions about any en­ter­prise which makes the Un­der­ground Rail­way – a sys­tem of se­cret chan­nels in the 1800s by which slaves and free peo­ple of colour could es­cape per­se­cu­tion and lynch­ings in the south­ern states of Amer­ica – the punch­line of a vam­pire in­va­sion joke.

Not to men­tion the cal­lous sug­ges­tion that Lin­coln’s son Wil­liam, who died of ty­phus at the age of 12, was re­ally the vic­tim of vam­pire vengeance.

There re­ally was a fun idea in here about a larger than life po­lit­i­cal and so­cial hero who re­ally knew how to wield an axe when it came to evil, but the hammy act­ing (al­though our own Mar­ton Csokas is pretty won­der­ful as the grimy slave mas­ter and vam­pire food pro­curer), low pro­duc­tion val­ues – I don’t know what it was shot on but it looks like a Sony handy­cam – and to­tal ab­sence of re­spect for one of the most trau­matic and dev­as­tat­ing pe­ri­ods in Amer­i­can his­tory make for dull, un­com­fort­able view­ing.

Poorly thought out, shod­dily ex­e­cuted, roughly scripted, and look­ing like it has been edited with Lin­coln’s own axe, Abra­ham Lin­coln: Vam­pire Hunter is one to avoid.

Abe of ac­tion: The Great Eman­ci­pa­tor is re­cast as the great de­cap­i­ta­tor in bad taste his­tory ‘les­son’

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