First of all, Benjamin Walker is too mildly earnest as Young Abe to be truly interesting. He has this vendetta against vampires. (Because one of them ate his mother–rude!) But, even though he starts killing them off, he doesn’t seem to hate the horror of what he’s doing… or enjoy it too much… or, really, anything. It’s just a guy killing vampires. It got boring. Introducing Mary Elizabeth Winstead as his future wife did not help to remove the boring. Now, having Henry (Dominic Cooper) as his sort-of-mentor is a little interesting, particularly when you learn his back story. That makes for a nice twist. I mean, I saw it coming, but it was still fun to watch. The problem was, that sea change in the story happens WAY too late.
So, the best action sequence of the film–by far–was when Young Abe fights Adam (Rufus Sewell) during a cattle stampede. That was truly awesome. Nothing else in the film lives up to the promise of that one fight.
What I wanted, going in, was a little bit of Young Abe, and then a whole mess of Old Top Hat Abe kicking much vampire ass. We have to wait for nearly the whole film to get that beard on him and for the war to start. And the only thing we get is one climactic scene on a train. Now, it’s a good sequence, over-the-top in all the right ways. But it felt like Act Two. I didn’t feel, when it was over, that I had seen enough action for a film with this title.
Basically, this film needed a tighter script. The promise was there, it simply wasn’t executed very well.