This week's featured adaptation is "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" and the movie reviews are decidedly mixed. The film fits into the classic-cum-monster genre popularized by Seth Grahame-Smith and others, and shows a new side of Honest Abe, wailing away at Southern vampires with his trusty axe. (The Baltimore Sun has a gallery of other famous vampire hunters.) Here are some exceprts from movie reviews:
Los Angeles Times: "Vampire Hunter's" dramatic intentions are way ahead of its ability to execute them, so even capable actors such as Dominic Cooper, Anthony Mackie, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Rufus Sewell don't make much of an impression. And star Benjamin Walker, in his first significant film role, doesn't do much more than look appropriately lantern-jawed and determined.
Tribune newspapers: For every medium or long shot in anything resembling sunlight (though this is largely an animated film, given the amount of green-screen effects), the digital zizz of the image looks like a dupe of a dupe of a dupe. This isn't "period" style; it's just sloppy. I did enjoy a few things, though. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays the dishiest-ever version of Mary Todd Lincoln. ... There's a slo-mo strut toward the camera performed by [Benjamin] Walker's Lincoln that is genuinely funny. And I adore the nutty hypocrisy of the voice-over that begins and ends the film (meant to be torn from the pages of Lincoln's secret vampire-hunting journal), the line referring to how history prefers "soaring speeches to quiet deeds." This, in a splattery diversion that has no time for either.
Salon: There’s definitely some empty-calories, summer-movie fun to be found in this ludicrous genre mashup, most of it courtesy of maniacal Russian director Timur Bekmambetov, who stages hilarious, imaginative, almost free-form action sequences like nobody in the business. There’s a scene in this movie that involves an ax fight between the young Mr. Lincoln and a slave-trading vampire mastermind, set amid a stampeding herd of horses, who are alternately used as conveyances, obstacles and weapons. In its own idiotic and limited way, it’s a work of genius, and you could almost say that about the movie as a whole.
Washington Post: As much of a mixed bag as its portmanteau title suggests, “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” is both terribly silly and a lot of fun. Delivering fewer consistent frights and more laughs than some might wish from a flick about bloodsucking ghouls, this adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s 2010 bestseller is nevertheless reasonably gripping summertime entertainment. That’s thanks in large part to filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov’s strong sense of action and visual style.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times