Great concept that toys with one of America's best historical figures and entertains, albeit lacking the depth that is lacking in the middle act where affairs seem to pivot about random vampire encounters. Visual filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov wields one of his less ambitious productions with safe takes on supernatural battles between Abraham Lincoln and the night-walkers, though production values are not short of quality. A consumable film that should cater well to the tastes of fantasy action genre fans.
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter explores the secret life of one of the U.S.s greatest presidents, and the untold story that shaped that country. Visionary filmmakers Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov (director of Wanted) bring a fresh and visceral voice to the bloodthirsty lore of the vampire, imagining Lincoln as history's greatest hunter of the undead.
Based upon the original novel by Seth Grahame-Smith (who also wrote the screenplay for the film), Bekmambetov commissions Benjamin Walker to scowl the early American soils as a mighty-hearted lawyer whose true intention weighs much heavier than the consequential power of his legal tongue and words.
Past elected American President Mr Abraham Lincoln, slays vampires unknown to most.
Of course, that is according to Grahame-Smith's fictitious novel, which does promise fun despite its preposterous implication. Young Lincoln begins his youth endangering others and himself with a slew of action adventures until his supernatural encounter that is completely out of his expectation. Saved by a mysterious man who slays vampires, Young Lincoln begins to be convinced and passionate about the art of vampire hunting.
This is where the film begins to lose track and derails into mediocrity.
Peppered with random vampire action set pieces, the audience does receive their underlying demand for entertainment (while also an excuse for Bekmambetov to unleash his signature visual magic). These expectations are not disappointed with relatively influential soundtrack (by Henry Jackman, who has composed for X-Men: First Class and Kick-Ass previously), well-paced editing (by William Hoy, of 300 and Watchmen fame), and photography (by Caleb Deschanel).
The concept almost refers to a free-reign possibility to explore brilliant fascinations, which may capture and intrigue our imaginations (What can better the idea of a vampire-slaying President?). However, the film material sticks close to its reality-reference source and attempts to align fiction with fact. There's interesting hints at the axe-wielding Lincoln hacking at a tree, so now you know why Mr Lincoln chopped down the cherry tree. With great might, I should add.
Without a credible script for the middle act, the final act sadly delivers a genre obligated finale before concluding with an all too easy full stop. Using assumed mortality to fade the Abraham Lincoln chapter. the film ventures towards the future and seems keen to leave the question open for the audience as to which contemporary figure will be the next vampire hunter.
"If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I'd spend six hours sharpening my ax" - Abraham Lincoln
What a dwindling, if not otherwise entertaining, attempt at inciting the tale of one of America's greatest politician.