Actually, there is not much to say about this film. The plot is pretty simple:
Imagine that underneath the American Civil War there was another war being fought, and that Abraham Lincoln was actually a vampire hunter fighting vampires that were Southern slave owners.
Let’s just say, this is a film that was simply not needed; if you know what I mean. No-one would miss it if it did not exist. The problem is that, at its core, this is very much a by-the-numbers hero-vs.-monsters film. Absolute standard plot, standard narrative… nothing new or exciting about it. The Lincoln/slavery/Civil War angle is pretty much just a façade. Only exception to the standard narrative is the fact that there are two final battles instead of one.
Admittedly, the Lincoln/slavery/war façade was blended rather seamlessly with the vampire plot – that is something that could easily have gone wrong and appear clunky, but it didn’t.
Benjamin Walker holds his leading actor ground pretty well, but I was regularly irritated by his face, because it reminded me so much of Liam Neeson that it distracted me from the film. Well, I guess that way we get at least a glimpse what Neeson would have looked like if he had got the part in Spielberg’s Lincoln…….
The rest of the cast is OK, but the villains are not written all that interestingly and the romantic sub-plot is unconvincing.
The only really positive thing I can say about this film is that the fight sequences are very good (although that is not such a big criterion for me personally). It seems that Timur Bekmambetov, director of Night Watch and Day Watch, managed to carry his knack for action – which is clearly visible in those two earlier films – over into Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter as well.
In the end, what I would criticise most is the fact that, as I said above, plot and narrative are so average and banal. If you are doing something as unusual as a film about a vampire hunting Abraham Lincoln, I expect more than just the standards. I want subversive humour, I want crazy plot twists, and I want some aspects of the standard vampire genre turned on their head. Instead, I got this. It is just one of those films that leaves you with the feeling: I deserve better than this.
For this uninspired vampire flick I can hardly award more than 5 out of 10, maybe 5.5. Imdb’s current rating of 5.9 seems slightly too generous, but nevertheless reflects quite well the fact that this film is nothing more than an average Hollywood product.