First action hero

Abe hunts vampires for America

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated R.

Rated 4.0

The thing to keep in mind about a movie called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is that there’s not much gray area involved. It either sounds stupid as hell or like it might be a total blast. If it sounds stupid as hell to you, then it’s probably not your bag of coffin nails. And if it seems like a blast, then your only hesitancy might be that it won’t live up to the delirious promise of its comic-book title.

Of course it doesn’t completely live up. How could it? But it mostly does.

The flick is goofy. The title promises as much, and the movie delivers on that promise. But it plays the goofy straight, and as students of comedy know, that’s the best way to play the goofy.

Here we have young Abe Lincoln (Benjamin Walker getting his young Liam Neeson on) doing all those things we know Abraham Lincoln did—like studying to be a lawyer and meeting Mary Todd (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and growing a beard and freeing the slaves—but taking time outs in between to kill him some vampires. Seems that the South back then wasn’t actually being run by racist peckerwoods, but by a cabal of vampires using those quislings to keep itself tippling in the blood of the slave class. (The more things change … )

Seriously, going into the plot is a waste of my word count. The movie is called Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer. It’s written by the dude who brought us Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Seth Grahame-Smith) and directed by the Russki who helmed the flashy vampire actioner, Night Watch (Timur Bekmambetov). Between the two they’ve delivered a cinematic graphic novel that makes good on its title. Sure, there are some things that are hard to swallow. As both a lawyer and a Republican, you’d expect professional courtesy to get in the way of Lincoln’s agenda, but nope, he tears into those bloodsucking fiends like a boss.