Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter review

Great title. Shame about the movie…

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You don’t have to be as honest as Abe to concede there’s something deliciously bonkers about America’s 16th president having a clandestine sideline in bloodsucker elimination.

Once its genre mash-up premise is established, alas, there isn’t much left to make Timur Bekmambetov’s latest worth the four score and seven minutes it still has to run.

Beginning, à la John Carter , with its hero spilling the beans about his hidden history via a voice-overed diary, Lincoln introduces Bill and Ted’s future travelling companion as a headstrong tyke understandably peeved when his mother is munched by Marton Czokas’ rapacious vampire.

It’s only when he’s grown up though that he does something about it, instigating a ham-fisted revenge mission he only survives thanks to the intervention of an undead Dominic Cooper.

Turns out vampires can’t kill their own and need humans like Benjamin Walker’s sturdy Abraham to do it for them. Thus begins the Karate Kid part of the story, Abe receiving instruction in the finer arts of silver-tipped axe-wielding from Cooper’s Yoda in the run-up to a showdown with Rufus Sewell’s slave-owning vamp overlord.

It’s not long before Walker is slaying toothsome agents of darkness left, right and centre, something he manages to juggle with toiling in a shop, wooing Mary Elizabeth Winstead and successfully running for office.

But that’s not enough for the Wanted director, who keeps preposterously upping the ante in the apparent misapprehension we might actually be taking this nonsense seriously.

When he’s not having Walker pursue Czokas across the backs of a thousand stampeding horses or rescue chum Anthony Mackie from a vampire cotillion, the Bekmambetov has him gallivanting atop an out-of-control steam train as it tries to cross a collapsing wooden bridge.

What he doesn’t do is offer us any respite from his 3D CGI barrage, an assault on the senses that makes the bullet John Wilkes Booth fired into the real Abe’s noggin seem calming by comparison.

Freelance Writer

Neil Smith is a freelance film critic who has written for several publications, including Total Film. His bylines can be found at the BBC, Film 4 Independent, Uncut Magazine, SFX Magazine, Heat Magazine, Popcorn, and more.