US President Hit by Numb Gum Disease ; BigMovie ABRAHAM LINCOLN VAMPIRE HUNTER 2D / 3D (15) Verdict:

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IF EVER the producers of the James Bond franchise want to cast Liam Neeson as a bad guy and then also need someone to play his son, look-alike and sound-alike actor Benjamin Walker will be the man. But, with that baggage, he's rarely convincing as the revered 19th century US president Abraham Lincoln.

And that's just one of many problems with this film which feels as if too many long-fanged cooks have sucked up the broth.

The convoluted plot features the 16th US president having a back story which requires him to seek revenge for the death of his mother.

When he's not been doing other things, Lincoln has long been a vampire hunter keen to master the arts of destroying something which cannot be conventionally killed because it is already dead.

It's at this point that the training services of Henry Sturgess (Dominic Cooper) will come in handy.

Watching Lincoln learning how to twirl an axe like a demented cheerleader is fun, but the longer the film goes on the more Cooper's modern-sounding London accent doesn't exactly fit the period.

The same can be said of attempts to layer vampire mythology on top of US battlefield history, never mind a US president who helped to end slavery.

Although Seth Grahame-Smith has adapted his own novel for the screenplay, perhaps he was too close to the source material to see the cinematic wood from the trees.

Then there's the fact that the film has been made by two of modern cinema's greatest visionaries, neither of whom is especially skilled at film narrative.

Best known as a director, Tim Burton has one of the most imaginative minds in Hollywood. He's a producer here, trying to serve the needs of the equally bold Russian-Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov, whose films include Day Watch, Night Watch and James McAvoy's Wanted.

Almost as you'd expect, Abraham Lincoln is at its strongest whenever it needs to be visually distinctive. …