I don’t think there is really much I can say about this movie, other than it probably would have been much better if it hadn’t taken itself seriously. Why would a film that tells this secret life of one of the most famous Presidents not do so with its tongue firmly in its cheek?
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, the same guy who brought us Nightwatch (2006) and Wanted (2008) some parts do have some style, but these incidental scenes are the exception rather than the rule, and besides, they’re obviously CGI.
The cast is all fine without being outstanding. Benjamin Walker is alright in the titular role. The biggest name is Rufus Sewel as Adam, the main bad guy, but has little to get his teeth into. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Anthony Mackie round out the actors that are familiar to me; well apart from a cameo (why would you cameo in this film?) by Alan Tudyk.
In all fairness the movie is not as crap as it could have been; I’m now desperately trying to think why not. I guess everything came together to make it not terrible. Fair enough cast; a few nice transitions; quite a cool fight scene in black and white at Adam’s plantation (think Matrix Reloaded with some 300 in black & white); plot (beyond the ridiculous premise) works alright… No can’t do it. I’ve just tried explaining it to my wife, and it is truly silly. Vampires in the American civil war? Silver bullets but not daylight? Naff training montage that essentially consisted on axe-spinning, never mind being able to fell a tree with a single chop just because he’s angry! All such rubbish.
In short, don’t bother. In my head I equate this with Dracula Untold; I wonder how bad that is? Just noticed from IMDB that Dominic Cooper who plays Abe’s trainer is also in Dracula Untold. Mmmm, make of that what you will. I know what I think; but, well, you know, that’s just, like, my opinion man.