Tim Burton and I have had a rather uneasy relationship. I probably have liked more of his films than those that I haven't, but every now and then he'll make something that I just have no desire to see. Most of his animation vehicles fall into that category. Same with the recent "Dark Shadows". However, no way was I missing this one.
The story is a young Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) witnesses his mother killed by a vampire. He makes it his personal mission to avenge her death. The only thing is in order to do that he has to train under the tutelage of vampire expert Henry Sturgis (Dominic Cooper) who has his own agenda. It's just a matter of time before Lincoln finds out that vampires are more rampant than he ever imagined. And he's determined to vanquish them all.
It cracked me up when I heard that some folks were calling this movie a revisionist look at Lincoln. Is our school system really that sad that there are some kids that have to be told this is fiction? On the other hand, I really like how they tied in the whole slave and dissident South into the story to coincide with the vampires. I can buy that the South was full of vampires and that Lincoln wanted to do everything possible to keep them from invading the North. Which would also mean that probably the real reason that Lincoln was killed was because John Wilkes Booth was a vampire himself seeking revenge. It all makes sense now.
Seriously though, I really enjoyed Walker as Lincoln. We never had the benefit of seeing Lincoln in action from any type of archival footage since it was before video; however, I know I'm not the only one that envisioned him being a bit aloof in his younger years due to his build and height. That's just what Walker brings to the character. So the parts where he's begining his training comes off a bit comical as it should. Then even better as you see him catching on to become quite deadly with his skills.
Of course there are some moments in "Vampire Hunter" that were a bit much. Even for this to be "revisionist". The part I'm referring to in particular is the battle on the fiery train. A little hard to believe that not only one but two people could survive it the way that Lincoln and his sidekick (Anthony Mackie) did. But as I've always said, you have to accept outrageous things in action films. Even if it's from our 16th President.
I can't imagine how the book version (on which this is based) could have topped the movie. "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" was very visual with its action. Not to mention that Burton's dark style was a perfect fit for the theme. You can now add this one to the list of Burton films that I do like.
My rating: B+