So, what the heck were you expecting? A history lesson? Were you expecting a found footage documentary about how Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, was by day politician and by night a vampire slayer?


Obvious clue: The are no vampires! Trivial clue: Abe Lincoln, in real life eschewed hard labor which would include running around fighting vampires.


So you have to take Timur Bekmambetov's adaptation of the best selling novel "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer" at face value; that it should be a fun romp with a historical figure. Mel Brooks did it in the past with Moses, Quenton Tarantino did it in "Inglorious Basterds" with Hitler... it's Hollywood! The only problem I had was that it wasn't enough of a farce!

Benjamin Walker is Lincoln, who as a child witnessed the slaughter of his mother by a vampire (actually she died at 34 after drinking bad milk) and hated vampires ever since. After striking out on his own he meets up with a gentleman named Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper) who is a vampire slayer.


After a few drinks Sturges takes Lincoln under his wings and teaches him the art of killing vampires noting that he would need some sort of weapon because bullets don't work. Lincoln chooses an axe because he "used to do a little rail splitting". (Again an inaccuracy because Lincoln deplored physical labor and was considered lazy by his father).


He meets up with Mary Todd, courts her, then marries her. This is the obligatory romantic scene every film seems to need. He also hooks up with a free slave named Will (Anthony Mackie) who joins him on his vampire killing sprees.


Fast forward to the Civil War, Lincoln finds out that the vampires have sided with the south. There is no particular reason, I guess they just like mint juleps and fried chicken... who knows. But they are the big force to contend with.

In fact, at Gettysburg, after the Southern vampires won the first round handily, Lincom deduces the North needed to use silver bullets to kill the buggers. Now, we all know this would have been cost intensive and the likelihood that the soldiers would just take the bullets and blow off the war are pretty high!


But, again... this is Hollywood. With that in mind, the final battle on a train against his arch nemesis Adam (Rufus Sewell) comes off better than the final fight in "Dark Shadows". That is ironic since both had the involvement of Tim Burton and screenwriter Seth Grahame-Smith.


The unevenness of the film is what is most annoying. We get a sexy-hot female character Vadoma (Erin Wasson) who shows up... looks sexy... then goes away. Okay, what is her purpose? Even a farce needs definition.


In every sense, this reminds me of "Cowboys & Aliens" in 2011 - a film that should have been more fun than it was. This is something that Mel Brooks always showed a knack for - total irreverence. And this required total irreverence.


Benjamin Walker is perfectly cast as Lincoln and the ludicrous nature is understood but not well defined. Furthermore, if you are going to change history, I tend to agree with Tarantino - completely change it; which this film does not.


"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" is visually entertaining and conceptually intriguing. However, it is structurally flawed unless the whole idea is to get everyone to read the book.   -- GEOFF BURTON