Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Priest is based on the graphic novel by Min-Woo Hyung, and was Directed by Scott Stewart (Legion). It is about the quest of a warrior priest, portrayed by Paul Bettany, as he seeks to rescue his niece from the clutches of an evil Vampire and the hordes of other vampires and creatures that follow him.
The priest has a problem to start with. Mainly, the leadership of the church he belongs to, won't recognize that a vampire threat exists anymore. This is is due to the warrior priests supposedly annihilating the vampires, and banishing them to reservations. The leaders of the church disbanded the priests because they felt they were a threat to their power. So the priest is told if he goes against the church he goes against God. Good thing for his niece, he follows his conscience rather than the corrupt leaders.
He joins forces with Hicks, his niece's suitor. Hicks is the sheriff of the outpost where the priest's niece and her family lived. They set out to find out the source of the vampire army, and are joined by a priestess (Maggie Q). They ultimately discover the vampires live on a huge train, and are being lead by Black Hat a big, almost cowboy looking guy with a few secrets. They begin to battle it out to save the niece and ultimately many more.
I really went into this thinking I would like it, even though it didn't look like a horror movie (and it isn't), but ultimately, it left me cold. It wasn't for a lack of trying: the film boasts a $60 Million budget, and it looks it. The special effects are largely great, the action scenes are good, the musical score is rich and the creatures are scary looking. The performance of Paul Bettany is very good, as is that of Carl Urban (Black Hat).
My problems with the movie are: The story didn't draw me in. I did manage to feel empathy for Priest, but nothing for the other characters. The movie also has the post-apocalyptic world that somehow has reverted back to the old west as a backdrop. To me this is just soooo overused. The action, while good, shows the overwhelming influence of The Matrix, and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Some of the themes in this story seem typical (to a non-enthusiast) in the world of anime and manga (see Trinity Blood). It actually plays out more like and action western (with vampires) than anything else. But...even I could deal with it if it managed to entertain me, and to be honest, it just didn't do it for me.
One particular scene near the end really sums it up for me, but I don't want to spoil it for those who want to watch it. All I will say is that if the build up of the priest's convictions had been properly handled, there would have been alot more contrast and would have made the scene much more compelling. As it was, it became just another snap decision that faded away. I can't possibly recommend a purchase of this movie. Maybe a rental, if you want an action movie, and haven't watched much sci fi. Priest gets a 4.5 out of 10 from me.
Thank you to Sheng Wi for the recommendation! Sorry I didn't care for it, but we all have different tastes!