<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Timur Bekmambetov. Starring Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper.
I heard this one wasn’t so good but Tim Burton’s name on the producing credits makes one’s heart hope a bit for delicious dark brilliance. Unfortunately, it’s to be expected only when he is the director.
Director Timur Bekmambetov has made such films as the cult Night Watch and Day Watch. He’s also made the oomph action flick Wanted with Angelina Jolie. So one wonders why he’s messed this one up so badly. Could it be writer Seth Grahame-Smith’s fault? His book was the inspiration for this movie and he’s written the screenplay. If you don’t recall he also wrote Dark Shadows (Tim Burton, director), which I quite enjoyed. He’s collaborating with Burton on the upcoming Beetlejuice 2 movie as well. So he seems to be the new ‘It’ (just ‘It’ because that sounds creepier!) Well he’s gotten ‘it’ all wrong in this one. I thought Twilight gave vampires a bad name what with all the climbing trees and shit but this one isn’t any better. At least Twilight doesn’t pretend to be something it’s not.
So Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – yes the title is the only thing going for it – is trying to be a Rock ‘n’ Roll Abe Lincoln, this cool dude who used to slay vampires before becoming President of the US of A. Benjamin Walker… (snore)… sorry… Ben Walker plays the titular dud with the dexterity of a snail on sleeping pills. In order to make him seem fast they put in these quicker-than-you-can-see-em action scenes. But then, but then they slow them down in slow motion to try and look cool. NOT. Copy cats. Fucking copycats. Oh my god! There’s a scene in there with a herd of horses furiously galloping away and Abe and a vampire running through it, jumping on one horse to another, the vampire picking up and hurling horses at honest Abe. Looks like a video game.
See they’ve tried to make this cult-ish. They’ve tried for some cutting-edge action scenes with blood that looks so fake it would give you an aneurysm. The lead actor is so dull, and ‘common’ (as the dull female lead puts it) that you flat line looking at his face. Dominic Cooper as the vampire slayer’s boss Henry is the only relatively believable character in there but his mousy performance scurries away under heaps of strangely lit set pieces with dust flying around. And this looks even worse in 3D. Oh and notice Henry’s sunglasses: they’re the same Johnny Depp wore in Dark Shadows to roam about in daylight. Henry also wears sunscreen!
It was an interesting premise but it’s been sorely let down by lacklustre actors, a poor screenplay, lousy direction and photography that frankly looks tacky and shoddy. Oh and I’m sorry but silver to kill Vampires! No, that’s for werewolves.