Sunday, June 24, 2012

Abraham Lincoln, Axe Spinner


There is something gloriously insane in the idea of Abraham Lincoln taking a silver-coated axe to vampires, and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter pretty much mines that madness for two hours.  I have not read the book on which the film was based, so I was surprised that the story takes Abe all way to the White House, where he's forced to continue his vampire battles as the Civil War ensues.

As far as the movie goes, I enjoyed much of it, though things sag a bit in the middle when Abe pursues his political career.  The movie LOOKS amazing and I'm left hoping that someone someday mounts an actual Civil War film with the same technical virtuosity employed here. 

A couple of other points.  In this story being a vampire has approximately zero downside.  You get to be immortal, you can walk in daylight, disappear at will, enjoy super-strength -- frankly you can do all sorts of cool stuff.  The downside is you need to feed on humans to survive, but that's really only a downside to the hapless humans.  If these vampires could feed on cows, there would be no reason for "living" humans to attack them.  Cows might get angry, but as our hamburger devouring culture has proven, their resources for effecting revenge are limited.

If the vampires in ALVH have any weakness, it's hubris.  The vampire king in the story allows both Abe and a self-loathing vampire guy to live to fight another day, offering some token reasoning that sounds vaguely dubious even in the moment, and certainly proves to be wrong in the long run.  Perhaps this piece of advice should be page one of the evil vampire overlord's handbook: "When you capture your enemy after he's cut a dozen of your best vampires to pieces with an axe or knife or gun, KILL HIM.  Allowing him to live to potentially service one of your dubious plans is risky!"

Finally, I'm still trying to understand why learning to twirl an axe like a majorette's baton is somehow useful in the war against vampires.  Practicing such a thing seems so dangerous (one false move and this becomes one of those Hong Kong "One Armed Assassin" movies), and for such limited benefit,  I'm not sure I get the point.  The vampires certainly didn't seem dazzled by Abe's axe spinning prowess in this movie.  It does look cool, but we're killing vampires here, not trying to impress the prom queen.

Now excuse me, I'm polishing my draft of Benjamin Harrison: Werewolf Tamer... 

1 comment:

Muldfeld said...

I'm going to see this when I get back to Toronto. My father grew up in South Asia, but heard vague tales of Abraham Lincoln's heroism when he was a kid. Even to a non-American who barely knows anything about Lincoln, this turn into a vampire hunter feels disrespectful or confusing, at least. I'm intrigued, however.