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Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Starring: Benjamin Walker, Dominic Cooper, Rufus Sewell, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Marton Csokas
Rating: 3 / 5
Based on the book by Seth Grahame-Smith, 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' tells the story of one of the greatest US Presidents. And the time he hunted vampires.
It is certainly a unique twist on what is a widely popular vampire theme right now. Add in heavyweights such as director Bekmambetov ('Wanted') and legendary producer Tim Burton, and all the ingredients for a good film are there.
The film is largely set early in Lincoln's life, before he entered politics, where he spends his free time hunting down and killing vampires.
As a young boy, Lincoln witnesses the vampire Jack Barts (played by Kiwi Marton Csokas) kill his mother. Fast forward a few years and we see Lincoln as a young man tracking down and attempting to kill Barts before he is rescued by the mysterious Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper).
Sturges trains the young Lincoln so that he may be able to vanquish the vampires headed by Adam (Sewell), and in doing so prevent them from taking control of his fledgling country.
Lincoln's anti-slavery views are made clear during the film, and events finally come to a head when his plans as President threaten to stop the wealthy vampire plantation owners' cheap supply of labour (and food).
Cue the iconic Battle of Gettysburg, where Lincoln attempts to prevent the Confederate army (made up by a horde of vampires) from winning the crucial battle and thus being able to turn the whole country into a nation of vampires.
Although the idea of a film about a famous US president having a secret life where he hunted vampires might be considered humorous, this film is no comedy. Bekmambetov and Burton present vampires as they're supposed to be, before films like the 'Twilight' franchise made them friendly to humans – they are frightening, angry and, above all, bloodthirsty.
But what holds the film back is its distinct lack of humour in what is, really, a very silly premise.
However, while the action scenes may verge on the ridiculous once or twice, Bekmambetov is able to bring them to the screen in all their gory and bloody detail. And in 3D, it will definitely keep you entertained.
'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' is unlikely to become a classic any time soon and is not for everyone. It's unlikely to leave any lasting impression, but if you’re looking for a film to keep you entertained for 100-odd minutes, then 'AL:VH' is just the ticket.
'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' is in New Zealand cinemas from August 2.