Priest (2011)

Priest is Scott Stewart‘s adaptation of Min-Woo Hyung‘s graphic novel, written by Cory Goodman and starring Paul Bettany, Maggie Q, Karl Urban, Cam Gigandet, Lily Collins, Stephen Moyer, Brad Dourif and Christopher Plummer.

As long as anybody can remember, humans and vampires have been battling each other. And the vampires seemed to be winning – until the Priests came along, a specially trained task force sent by the church. They managed to relegate the vampires to reservations and a kind of peace has settled over the war-destroyed world. But then a small town on the outskirts is overrun by vampires and the young Lucy (Lily Collins) is abducted. Lucy’s boyfriend Hicks (Cam Gigandet) calls on her uncle for help – a Priest (Paul Bettany). Together they go after the vampires.

Priest is everything it promises to be: full of oneliners that are instant classics, hammy performances and plot and characters from the stereotype shelf. In short, it’s absolutely craptastic. The only thing that was really unentertaining about it was the lack of naked Paul Bettany: he only got to undress once and then only for a couple of moments. Not okay.

Mostly the script and plot is completely predictable, with a few helpings of completely insane and good dose of teh stoopid. [As Genevieve Valentine points out in her review, there are some icky racist elements to the story, though I thought that they pretty much stopped at the reservations plotline. And it was nowhere near as bad as the anti-abortion propaganda in Legion, so I’d chalk that up as a win. :)]

The dialogues in particular were so freaking ridiculous, it was wonderful. Especially Karl Urban got his fair share of lines like this:

Black Hat: “I’m going to tear you apart. Piece by piece.”

But Karl Urban obviously knew what he was in for and he just hammed the hell out of this film. It was amazing to watch. [It also helped that that hat and those contact lenses were a very good combination.]

Paul Bettany ignores what kind of film he’s in and approaches it as he approaches every film he’s ever been in: as if it was the Oscar-baiting role of his lifetime. He’s wonderful (even when not naked) but it’s so fucking inappropriate in this film. Maggie Q does her usual thing, too and kicks ass, literally and figuratively.

There were a few nice visuals in this film, but can we collectively agree on and decide now that Scott Stewart should never make another movie? Seriously, two is quite enough. Even if Priest achieved what Legion did not: being craptastic, not only crap.

Summarising: If you don’t expect it to be good, it will be entertaining.

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