He was also, according to the historical fantasy by Seth Grahame-Smith, an avid vampire slayer.
"Historical Fantasy" is a new wave of fiction in which authors take mythological and fantastical creatures and incorporate them into actual historical events. If you can let go of reality enough to go with the premise - they are really fun! The precedent of the Abraham Lincoln faux-biography is that the writer is delivered the lost journals of Abraham Lincoln, which detail his interactions with and slaying of Vampires. I am currently halfway through the book, and am enjoying it.
It would be inevitable then, that a movie would be made. My last favorite Abe Lincoln cinematic adventure was as a piece of Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, which I highly recommend, in case you haven't seen it - or haven't seen it in a long time. Because most of us remember that Joan of Arc is Noah's wife.
ALVH is produced by Tim Burton (don't worry, it doesn't look like any of his others stuff, and Johnny Depp is not in it) and directed by Timur Bekmambetov, who last offered us Wanted, which was slick and stylized, and super pretentious, and I hated. Not his fault, I hated the graphic novel too. The movie looked good - but I still hated it.
Bekmambetov and Grahame-Smith worked together to deliver us this visually exciting piece of Summer Popcorn Movie fun. If you can get over the hurdle of Abe Lincoln hunting vampires while attempting to end slavery and the civil war, you'll enjoy this. Although, admittedly, that is a very large hurdle.
The story, well, does it even matter? Abe's life is changed as a boy by a vampire attack and he vows to spend the rest of his life destorying them. Along the way, he self-educates himself into a lawyer, then runs for office, meets Mary Todd, becomes President, and ends slavery and the civil war. Incidentally, the vampires want slavery to continue, because they are using slaves as easy food.
The visuals are very fun, and like I said, very stylized. There is a great deal of blood and guts, but done in a very stylized video-game way that is not very 'real', but looks better on screen. There are some action sequences I have never seen before (always something tough to do): a fist fight on horseback during a horse stampede, and a fascinating train sequence. Also, the effects on the vampires' eyes were really interesting, and looked great - I have never seen anything quite like that. I did see it in 3D, and loved it.
In terms of casting, the movie was perfectly cast.
Benjamin Walker plays Abe, and does a really good job. This is Walker's first major role and he does a really good job. He does look like Abe, and is 6'3", so 1 inch shorter than Lincoln truly was. He wears the hat well, spins the axe well, and really gives a personal touch to the historical icon.
Dominc Cooper, last seen as Howard Stark in Captain America adds a touch of vampire knowledge and angst as Abe's friend Henry. Cooper is very watchable and does a great job.
The wonderful Anthony Mackie plays a character unique to the movie, Will Johnson, who was Abe's childhood friend, and stays by his side throughout his life helping him fight vampires the whole time. Mackie is always good, last in Man on a Ledge, and he absolutely stole The Adjustment Bureau.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Mary Todd - a little more kick-ass in the movie than in the book, which I really enjoyed. She was very good, in a completely different way than her take on Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim.
Jimmi Simpson, who is another one of those actors who is always, "that one guy from that one movie, you know..." is very good as Abe's other friend Speed.
Marton Csokas, who I will always remember as Borias from Xena - but who pops up in a lot of good movies was big time scenery chewing in this as one of Abe's first vampire encounters.
Rufus Sewell has his oily, good-looking, arrogant persona in full effect as the head villianous vampire, Adam. He slinks through the movie attempting to get all the pieces in play for his ultimate goal and is really terrifyingly evil.
All in all, I really really enjoyed this movie. Be forewarned - it's not historically accurate! It is also not going to win any oscars. It is, however, a really fun, big, summer popcorn fluff movie. I have heard from several people that it does not follow the book (I'm still only halfway through the book), and that they miss some things, and the book did not have as many large action sequences. It was also getting terrible reviews, which I think really helped my viewing of it. I went in expecting nothing, and was very pleased by the result!
8 out of 10! Gained points for that slick sideways silhouette of Abe in the hat coming through the door...awesome and badass. Lost points for skipping his first girlfriend, Poe, and the other pieces of the book that weren't there (I didn't really miss them!). Gained points for the great vampire eye effects, and the silver twist, and Mary's final shotgun piece, awesome.
Bonus Video 1: the report from Bill and Ted, yay!
Bonus Video 2: A little more historical fantasy for you!
Bonus Video 3: Cast and crew interviews!