Archive for Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) Review

Posted in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter with tags , , , , , , , on November 26, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

(Note. This is my first review since flooding so it may not be my best, but for now it will do)

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ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER

*** Out of 5

Tagline- President by Day; Hunter by Night

Release Date- June 22nd, 2012

Running Time- 105-Minutes

Rating- R

Screenplay- Timur Bekmambetov

Director- Seth Grahame-Smith

Starring- Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jimmi Simpson, Erin Wasson

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is based off a novel of the same name written by Seth Grahame-Smith who also wrote the screenplay for the film version. Based on the title most would expect a silly shlock fest, but the novel was amazingly written with great characters and a lot more historical accuracy than one would expect. Actually if you remove the vampires from the book it could almost play out like a bio. The novel rates as one of my all-time favorite books and it got rave reviews from legit newspapers, magazines and critics and was a New York Times best seller. Upon seeing the trailer my fears were the film would be a dumbed down version of the book with over stylized Hollywood action rather than built on solid characters and sadly all my fears came true. However with that said there is still fun to be had, but its a shame such a terrific novel was made into a brain dead movie.

The plot follows Abraham Lincoln (Walker) as he battles Vampires on his way to becoming president, freeing the slaves and winning the civil war. Seth Grahame-Smith adapts his novel and I wonder if the changes made were his choice or the studio? I haven’t read much about the script, but even if they weren’t his choice I suppose he couldn’t say if he wants to continue working in Hollywood. Unlike the novel there is very little historical accuracy besides Abraham Lincoln becoming the president of the United States. Like I said the novel actually at times was historically accurate and if you take away the vampire aspect the book can almost be a bio, but really outside of a couple of things there is no historical accuracy.

The screenplay by Seth Grahame-Smith is subpar and is far inferior to the novel. The characters are mostly faceless and boring and character development is pushed to the side in favor of action scenes. I’m not gonna get into all the differences between script and novel, but its different enough that at times it has very little resemblance to the novel outside of the basic plot. Some changes are Abe’s first encounter with Henry (Cooper) and in the film it takes Abe a while to find out Henry is a vampire whereas in the novel he finds out right away. I also really liked the dynamics between Henry and Abe in the novel, but in the film its sloppy and rushed. The character of Will Johnson (Mackie) is created for the movie and doesn’t appear in the book. While again I’m not sure who is to blame for the changes from book to script, but none of the changes are for the better and as great as a book Smith wrote his screenplay is the opposite. Obviously there has to be changes made for the film for timing and since certain aspects of a book won’t work in the film, but this screenplay was a major letdown and even if I didn’t hate the film it takes away everything that made the novel such a great and fun read.

Director Timur Bekmambetov fails at brining much excitement to the film and the action scenes are by the book and are the typical sequences we see in every other Hollywood film. Outside of a few action scenes nothing really stands out. About the only positive thing I can say about the direction is visually the film looks good and despite lacking the film is never boring even if its never really exciting.

I was quite excited for this movie since the novel is one of my favorites and outside of Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter would be my favorite vampire book and one of my favorite vampire stories period in written word or film, but everything that made the novel so great is pretty much lost in the movie as its overly stylized and everything wrong with Hollywood.

I can’t believe I’m gonna say this, but the Asylum knockoff film Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies was actually the better film! My advice is skip this and wait for cable and just read the book and if you’ve already read the book than read it again. If you must see the movie consider Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies instead and while that film is far from great it was more enjoyable than Vampire Hunter.

My review might be harsh and I actually didn’t hate the movie, but again I loved the novel so much and the film just strays way too much and is the typical Hollywood film and a big reason why I avoid mainstream cinema. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter has its moments, but not nearly enough. Perhaps one day I’ll lighten up on the film, but as such a fan of the book this left me with a bitter taste.

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Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies (2012) Review

Posted in Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies with tags , , on August 4, 2012 by Last Road Reviews

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ABRAHAM LINCOLN VS ZOMBIES

*** Out of 5

Tagline- He Emancipated the Slaves; He Saved the Union and Slaughtered the Undead

Release Date- May 29th, 2012

Running Time- 96-Minutes

Rating- R

Writer/Director- Richard Schenkman

Starring- Bill Oberst, Jr., Jason Vail, Christopher Marrone, Don McGraw, Jason Hughley, Ronald Ogden, Baby Norman, Hannah Bryan, Canon Kuipers

As I write this review I have yet to see Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, which this film knocks off, but I have read the book and the book was excellent. In general I avoid movies from Asylum as they just knock off bigger budget movies and get their movies out first and while knock off films aren’t anything new my problem with Asylum is it makes the horror genre look bad and part of the reason it doesn’t get the respect it deserves and when a horror movie is called not only a great horror movie, but a great movie its labeled a thriller since it seems a horror movie cannot be any good according to the mainstream and knock off films generally don’t help the label.

I really wasn’t sure what to except from this, but I will admit I actually kinda liked this and while this isn’t Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies is an entertaining film and if you just go along for the ride you might even find yourself enjoying this one and also this is probably the best film from Asylum in terms of quality and production values. Don’t go into this movie expecting any sort of historical accuracy. Believe it or not the novel for Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter actually is historically accurate at times (well with the exception of vampires). But if you remove anything vampire related it could almost work as a bio as I stated I haven’t seen the film version so I don’t know how accurate it is, but Lincoln Vs. Zombies doesn’t attempt at creating any accuracy and that’s perfectly fine with me. We have characters based off Teddy Roosevelt (Kuipers) and even Pat Garrett (Marrone).

The screenplay by Richard Schenkman is actually entertaining and fun and while none of the characters have a whole lot of depth several of them however are entertaining and while this script would never be called great it does serve its purpose and makes for an entertaining take on historical figures.

As director Richard Schenkman does an uneven job; the film for the most part is fun, but it can also have a few pacing issues and even at 96-minutes it does feel a little overly long. The action sequences are fun and while most of the gore is bad CGI it does work in regards to the type of movie this is. At times the action scenes can sort of repeat themselves and the longer we go without any action it can drag, but at the end of the day the film works on the fun level and really my biggest gripe is the movie should have ended with Lincoln’s (Oberst, Jr), but instead goes on for a few more minutes and this like I said is main problem with the movie even though only 96-minutes it could have been several minutes shorter.

Lincoln Vs. Zombies will never be mistaken for one of the greats of the horror genre, but at the end of the day Schenkman crafts an entertaining movie and regardless of quality all that matters at the end of the day if the movie is fun or not and this gets the passing grade.

The performances are what they are meant to be and most of them are fun, but to my surprise Bill Oberst, Jr. is actually really good as President and zombie killer Abraham Lincoln. I never would have expected such an excellent performance, but Oberst does deliver a really good and fun performance and for me this was the biggest surprise of the movie.

Again Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies will never go down as one of the greats and is nothing more than a cheap knock off of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, but with that said if you just take the movie for what it is you might find yourself enjoying it. Despite any problems the movie had I admit I actually kinda liked this one.

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