One of the best aspects of living in the cinema is watching trailers and there are some, and an easy example would be The Dark Knight, which are just as epic as the film itself. The trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was obviously not in the same league but it was pretty persuasive. Unfortunately, there are films that should be forever confined to the running length of a two minute trailer. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is one such film.
PLOT: Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) witnesses his mother being killed by a vampire and vows to seek revenge. After it inevitably goes wrong Abraham, together with the help of Henry (Dominic Cooper) and a short montage, becomes a skilled vampire hunter. Despite being told to lay low and quash any desire for revenge Abraham falls in love, enters politics and becomes President. Vampires are rich white people that serve up black slaves at a buffet. Abraham dislikes this and goes to war with the vampires of the South. The vampires are defeated and Abraham celebrates by going to the theatre….. END PLOT
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is based on the novel of the same name by Seth Graham-Smith who also brought us Pride, Prejudice and Zombies. I have not read the novel but I think it is safe to presume that major liberties have been taken with the text as I fail to believe that a story so bad could be published and then adapted to the big screen. I will give Graham-Smith the benefit of the doubt on this one as Pride, Prejudice and Zombies is the only time I’ve enjoyed anything by Jane Austen.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was never going to be plot heavy and I knew this before I watched the film but some of the plot points really missed the mark. The slave buffet scene attempted to be symbolic but it was cringe worthy in its execution.
Benjamin Walker does lack charisma, enthusiasm and leading man capabilities but he did look like
Liam Neeson Abraham Lincoln and for a film that attempted to put visuals above and beyond everything else I suppose he can be considered a success.
It feels like Anthony Mackie has been on the verge of A List stardom for such a long time unfortunately this is not going to be a career defining performance.
Dominic Cooper continues to be better than expected and Rufus Sewell continues to play the same villain he has plays for the vast majority of his career.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter lacks a strong script and the cast to make it stand out but Timur Bekmambetov is a director who always has the potential to give us some strong visuals and action. This did not happen.
The set pieces pushed the action boundaries a bit too far with the awful horse stampede (vampires throwing horses!!) and the finale on the train. They ropey CGI was not helped by the constant dust and smoke that seemed to engulf each sequence which made it almost impossible to see what was happening.
The action, when it eventually arrived, lacked coherent fluidity save for the “pass the axe” sequence between Abraham and Will (Anthony Mackie) and was so CGI heavy it look almost cartoony. The film can’t even claim that it went for style over substance as the effects were so poor.
The 3D was non-existent but luckily as I have a supply of 3D glasses it did not cost any extra. Perhaps the conversion to 3D took away from the original visuals but everything else was so shoddy I have no desire to watch the film on the small screen to see if it improves.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was never going to be anything more than a decent summer filler but it didn’t even reach those lowly heights. The film is nothing more than an empty 90min trailer and should only be viewed if nothing else is on offer - disgracefully disappointing. 4/10