To say that “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” is a tall tale about our 16th president is a bit of an understatement.
And yet there are just enough snippets of Lincoln’s true life to somewhat satisfy historians, while spinning this “big whopper” about his secret life as a trained vampire slayer.
Yes, Lincoln was only 9 when his mother passed away — from something the history books identified as milk sickness. So they’d like us to believe ... But according to this behind-the scenes story, it was from the bite of a vengeful vampire.
Throughout the film, Lincoln’s actual life will cross paths with this alter ego, arse-kicking Abraham (Benjamin Walker, a dead ringer for a young Liam Neeson), who is committed to avenge his mother’s death and also take out the bloodsucker trash in the various places he lives, while working as a clerk in a general store or studying to become a lawyer.
Somewhere in there, he manages to find the time to court and wed Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who is no shrinking violet in this story. He does so against the express wishes of his mentor, Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper), who insists a vampire hunter should be a lone wolf in the world.
Eventually, Lincoln becomes president, but must face not only the secession of the Southern states, but also a clan of vampires led by Adam (Rufus Sewell) that is serving as a seemingly indestructible wing of the Confederate Army.
On the verge of losing the Civil War, Lincoln must devise a plan to stop these “unstoppables” at a place called Gettysburg, Pa. If he fails there, the march into Washington, D.C., is only a matter of days.
I should mention that, in the meantime, Abe has been dispatching vampires with his trusty, silver-tipped ax, but had to put that life behind him once he entered politics (enter your political ax-wielding joke here). He decided words were more powerful, but then he had to bring the old sling blade out of retirement once things got really dicey on his train trip to deliver his secret weapons to the Union soldiers at Gettysburg.
I must admit, I got caught up in all of the historical moments — they were handled most accurately and professionally (several Lincoln experts were used as technical advisers). But, of course, the vampire battles are what this movie is really about, so you should know that approximately “four score and seven” heads will roll (that’s a lot of heads!), with the accompanying blood splatter. The bottom line? It’s pretty messy, folks.
However, for a vampire movie, it’s a lot of fun, it’s action-packed, it’s entertaining and, of course, not to be taken seriously. You know, bloody tongue-in-cheek sort of stuff.
And who knows, maybe moviegoers will want to know more about the REAL Abraham Lincoln? OK, now that’s a stretch.