Connect with us

Movie Reviews




Reviewed by: Lewis Filer

Released: 13th May 2011

Directed by: Scott Stewart

Starring: Paul Bettany, Karl Urban, Lily Collins

Certificate: 12

What do you get when you cross a gun slinging Western, with a futuristic vampire filled action movie and the added coolness of it all being in stunning three dimensions? The answer is Priest. Sounds a lot of fun doesn’t it? Well it could have been great if it was done right. In this case, it wasn’t, leaving us with a very poor 88 minutes of plot less story and a less than adequate amount of action to make up for it. Priest is an action, thriller and horror movie in one. Based on the successful comic book series of the same name (By Min-Woo Hyung) and directed by Scott Stewart (Legion) and produced by Michael De Luca (Ghost Rider, Freddy’s Dead, 21)

It Stars Paul Bettany (A Knights Tale, A Beautiful Mind, The Da Vinci Code) as the main protagonist, Priest, Cam Gigadent (Twilight, The Unborn, Pandorum) as gunslinger Hicks, Karl Urban (Lord Of The Rings, Star Trek, Doom) as the half human half vampire villain Black Hat and Maggie Q as the beautiful former warrior, Priestess.

Set in a post-apocalyptic alternate world, Priest sees the story of a century old war that has been fought between humans and vampires. The vampires were eventually wiped out by a team of skilled fighters with supernatural abilities called the Priests. After the vampire threat had been supposedly vanquished, the church decided that the Priests were too dangerous to stay as they are and forced them into obscurity. Some years later a legendary warrior, (simply known as) Priest (Bettany) lives in this forced obscurity alongside humans in a now walled off dystopian Church ruled city. When news reaches him that his niece, Lucy has been abducted by a group of vampires and their mysterious leader Black Hat (Urban), Priest tries to reason with the higher authority to have her rescued, but is immediately dismissed. He decides to escape the city, breaking his vows, to rescue her before she is killed or turned into one of the creatures. Along the way he is joined by his niece’s boyfriend Hicks (Gigadent), a wasteland sheriff skilled in gunplay, and also by a former Priest, Priestess (Maggie Q). Together they set off to find his niece, and prove to the world that the vampires are still very much alive.

From the graphic, well made animated intro that tells the history of the war, to the anticlimactic final battle (that makes the viewer wonder what they just spent they’re hard earned cash on) and obvious sequel setting ending, Priest is definitely one that hasn’t been given the effort and time that sets the difference between a good film and a bad film.

It relies too heavily on its stylish, futuristic appearance and action sequences rather than to take a step back and realise that it’s just not enough to carry it without a solid consistent plot. The script was a reasonable effort if somewhat empty of emotion, which can also be said about Bettany’s performance throughout, a shame really with so many awards and great films under his belt. Average performances from Gigadent and Maggie Q only just distract from Bettany’s brooding and lack of emotion. Karl Urban plays a good role but there just wasn’t enough screen time or character development to warrant the title of a good villain.

The music, composed by Christopher Young (Drag Me To Hell, Hellraiser 2, Spiderman 3) is unfortunately instantly forgettable, considering the history of soundtracks the gifted composer has worked on through his career.

The special effects were one of the high points of the entire train wreck. The futuristic city that we see during the first part of the film is very reminiscent of the cities previously seen is films such as Daybreakers, Minority Report and others set in the near future. The Colossal dark towers, electric billboards, lights and tv screens that are present higher up in the city and the even darker streets and alleys covering the ground level, are a perfect setting for the post apocalyptic world that the story is set in.

Without giving too much away, the Vampire design, frightening and horrible, was a nice twist on the popular stereotype of dark, brooding, gorgeous male that we have been forced to accept over the recent years. Although at times the cgi was a little poor, there were some moments that were well done. The action scenes being the best feature of the film, are nothing short of stylish, whether it be the in your face fighting, the motorbike chases or the vampire killing. Choreographed well and pulled off brilliantly, they are the only thing keeps the viewer’s eyes open.

One of the biggest disappointments of the film would be the non-existent 3D. After being advertised as a normal film it was suddenly announced that it was being held back a year for the conversion into 3D. Now we all know what happens when a film gets the post 3D treatment, for example, The Green Hornet, Thor and 2010’s biggest “3D” disasters, Clash of the Titans and The Last Airbender.

Even with 3D not being what it used to be with the slow decline from real in your face 3D to just a little bit of depth perception, you would at least expect that in a film so heavily advertised in the third dimension. So why would you put 3D in the title of the film and not include any 3D at all or even that small bit of depth perception? Easy answer, because a terrible film will benefit from the extra money charged for a 3D ticket. The entire film is easily watch-able without a pair of glasses and it will still be crystal clear.

At the end of the day there are some who will enjoy the film for what it is regardless of its emptiness and a plot that is in a secondary position only existing to fill the gaps between the killing and shooting.

There are many others who will not enjoy the miserable attempt at a ‘Vampire Western’ at all and one cant help but think, it may have been a lot better without it’s child friendly certificate of 12A.

It all comes down to the viewer’s preferences, if you are just looking for an action packed film with vampires, guns and Jedi like heroes with a vacant story, you could do worse with 88 minutes of your life. If you’re looking for all of the above but with an in depth story, your Prayers will go unanswered.

25 year old film fanatic who loves rock music, Xbox and cat videos on Youtube. I also tweet @lewisvstheworld

Just For You