First things first: it's hard to review a film you can barely see. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a 3D production that darkens considerably (at least in the cinema that I saw it in) when the glasses are put on. Directed by Russian filmmaker Timur Bekmambetov (who was behind the fun Wanted) it's a similar level of crazy to his last directorial outing, but unfortunately nowhere near as entertaining.
Plot-wise, the title is (unsurprisingly) self-explanatory. America's most celebrated president basically hides a secret: he used to slap vampires silly before he ruled the collective roost. After meeting a broody vampire hunter (are there any other kind?) - played by Dominic Cooper - he ultimately wants to avenge the untimely demise of his mother, who perished at the fangs of a bloodsucker. Although crap with a gun, he's pretty handy with an axe, which becomes his weapon of choice.
As with similarly outlandish titles like Cowboys and Aliens, buying the high concept from the outset should be a given for anyone contemplating purchasing a ticket for this film. Generally speaking, Bekmambetov is the perfect type of director for such a wacky plot. He excels at stories with this kind of 'heightened reality', but the aforementioned darkening when viewed in 3D mutes the spectacle somewhat. It's a constant pain attempting to squint through the glasses to fully enjoy the batshit-crazy action sequences, and one that certainly detracts from the finished product.
That's not to say that the plot actually works that well, though. The film jumps forward far too soon, and Cooper's constant re-emerging every once in a while to give proceedings a violent shove along - like a bouncer long after last orders has been called - is irritating. On the plus side, Walker's portrayal of the titular president is suitably noble and impressively wiry; It isn't easy playing one of the most famous men ever to don chin-whiskers, especially when he's slapping the crap out of a very modern-looking monster. Anthony Mackie is still a strong on-screen presence, while Winstead is better than her wafer-thin character should really have allowed. Sewell is also crippled with an awful villain; ditto Cooper, for the anti-hero who is the catalyst for all these slaying shenanigans.
If you can see it in 2D, do - then let us know whether it made much of a difference. As it stands, this is a momentarily fun blockbuster hamstrung by the process. Then again, it wasn't that great to begin with.