Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 1.5
Community: star rating
5 1.5 0
June 21, 2012

And you thought Honest Abe spent most of his time wrestling the Confederacy and trying to free the slaves. Ha! The bestseller list teaches a different history. It was the spawn of Twilight our 16th President was after. Seth Grahame-Smith, following his 2009 book success with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, came up with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and hit the charts again, this time by mashing up vamps with real Lincoln history. It was a fun escapist read. The movie version, with a script co-written by Grahame-Smith, is almost no fun at all, even as young Abe declares war on vampires for killing his beloved mom. That's because Russian director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted) won't leave a good gimmick alone. He lucked out big time nabbing Benjamin Walker to play Lincoln from 8 to 80 (not exactly, but you get my point). Walker, 30, was a dick-swinging smash on Broadway in the 2010 musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, playing Old Hickory as a genocidal horror in sexy pants. Walker brings backbone and flashes of humor to the guy on the five-dollar bill. But Walker can't save Bekmambetov from his own worst instincts. Just when the story sort of gets going with Abe aligned with good vampire Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) against evil bloodsuckers, played by Rufus Sewell and Marton Csokas, Bekmambetov brings out Abe to swing his silver-tipped axe and decapitate every vamp in sight with the athletic abandon of a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance. It looks fine the first two or three times you see it, then the acrobatic repetition seeps in and bores you breathless. The tacky, retro-fitted 3D doesn't help either. Spare Walker, who deserves to go on to better things. But the movie deserves a stake through the heart.

At the Movies with Peter Travers: 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' Dissolves Into Silliness
• Peter Travers' Summer Preview: 10 Must-See Movies

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