In case you missed Paul Bettany’s latest film Priest, then have no fear! After the almost decent Legion where Bettany played archangel Michael, he plays the futuristic super soldier role of a priest in a movie of the same name. Let me give you a basic rundown. According to the movie, mankind and vampires have been at war throughout the centuries, as the cool opening animation shows us.
The vampires of course have the upper hand most of the time being stronger and faster. But then humanity unleashes a weapon to counter and even surpass the vampire menace: The Priests.
The Priests were created by the Church to be super soldiers, though we are never told the origin of their abilities, they manage to defeat the vampire threat, ending the war and placing the remaining vampires on reservations. (Still can’t figure that one out.)
The Priests with their purpose served slip into obscurity in the walled cities that now house mankind from the wastelands that are the world after the war. In the cities the humans are now governed by the church very closely, living by the motto –“To defy the church is to defy God.”
Paul Bettany’s character, going only by the name Priest is still haunted by his friend’s (Karl Urban) supposed death many years ago during the war and searches for answers from the church that will seemingly never come. He is brought into action again when his niece is kidnapped by vampires after they attack his brother’s farm. The church denies that there is any Vampire threat and brands Priest a traitor as he defies them to go and save his niece.
I liked this movie quite a bit. It was aesthetically awesome, the human city reminding me of the Los Angeles from Blade Runner and the wastelands outside of the city vaguely reminiscent of Planet of the Apes. It had a very decent cast in addition to Paul Bettany and Karl Urban are Maggie Q, Stephen Moyer, Christopher Plummer, and a very underutilized Brad Dourif.
Despite all of this, Priest felt like one big sequel set up at the end. I’m not saying it’s a sequel I wouldn’t watch, but to have such an underwhelming climax leaves one feeling very unfulfilled. It reminds me of the same feeling I had when watching director Scott Charles Stewart’s last film starring Bettany – Legion. The movie felt completely rushed in the last half hour as if they ran out of budget and had to do a quick wrap-up. Despite all that I still enjoyed it. It had a comfortable 90-minute run time and was almost everything I expected the movie would be, which includes an action-packed, futuristic, vampire-killing popcorn movie. To have it be any longer would have defeated the purpose of such a movie.
I give the movie 3 out of 5 grizzlies. It gave me just what I was expecting and a decent performance from all of the actors involved.
The Vampires themselves were a lot different from what we see in most movies out there, but it was a fresh take and a great relief from trash like the Twilight vampires… or as I like to call them, the indestructible, shiny diamond people.
Priest didn’t make nearly enough money to warrant a sequel in the current box office atmosphere, but if they ever did make one I’d be game for going to see it. If you haven’t seen Priest I recommend you check it out on DVD, it was definitely worth the $1.59 I spent renting the Blu-Ray from Redbox. Suck it Blockbuster.
Images: Screen Gems