It all looked so promising: entertaining source material, the potential to be funny, scary and violent all at once, so where did Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Let see what they have to say, starting with WhatCulture, which really laid into the film in a review entitled ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: Dull and Joyless’:
Completely underwhelming… The appallingly self-serious ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ is stylized to death and lacks the subversion needed to support its inspired premise.
The whole review just tears every aspect of the film apart. IGN was next in line to have a go at Bekmambetov’s film. At least they decided that humor was the best way to break the bad news, calling the film:
Bloodless, chugging along from Great Lincoln Historical Moment to carefully choreographed action set-piece without ever generating much energy or enthusiasm.
It wasn’t all bad though. There was a ray of sunshine in the form of a surprise supporter, the normally serious Roger Ebert. Ebert spotted a few plot holes, but was pleasantly surprised, saying:
What it achieves is a surprisingly good job of doing justice to its title, and treating Lincoln with as much gravity as we can expect, under the circumstances.
That’s actually not a bad review for a fun summer blockbuster, but sadly it was pretty much the only one of its sort. The Hollywood Report got straight to the point, reflecting that:
At a taut 105 minutes, Abraham Lincoln credibly delivers the thrills and gore it promises, though its ultimately too lightweight and conventional to merit either cult or classic status.
That wasn’t the end of it, though: some reviewers like TotalFilm decided to add a little poetry to their put-downs:
Once its genre mash-up premise is established, alas, there isnt much left to make Timur Bekmambetovs latest worth the four score and seven minutes it still has to run.
Some harsher critics had no time for politeness. Time Out plunged a stake right through the heart of the film, and then twisted it for good measure:
…long on speculation, emancipation and decapitation, but is essentially a lot of balls.
Take a look at that last review, though, and perhaps you’ll notice something shocking: the reviewer has given the film 2/5 stars, while the fan reviews (admittedly, only two of them) have given the film a 5 out of 5.
Have critics missed the point of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter entirely with their over analysis? It’s not exactly supposed to be social commentary or historically accurate, nor is it meant to be a film for the ages. All the film probably set out to do was entertain, and I expected nothing more. With its R-rated action, gorgeous set pieces and solid acting, I’d say it did that pretty damn well!