Priest Directed by: Scott Stewart Cast: Paul Bettany, Karl Urban, Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q Running Time: 1 hr 26 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: May 13, 2011
PLOT: For centuries, man has fought vampires. Now a priest (Bettany) must try to save a girl and possibly all of mankind against a new kind of foe.
WHO'S IT FOR? Did you love Jonah Hex, but wish there were vampires? Paul Bettany doesn't do much for this flick, and neither does the normally good Karl Urban.
Ugh, do I have to? That's the sentiment I most felt after this 90-minute flick. I saw it with film critic Eric D. Snider and while walking to our cars, I started to talk about this movie. He told me to stop, that we were all ready spending too much time thinking/talking about this movie. I quickly agreed. So technically I stole the ugh, do I have to? mentality from Snider. But if Priest taught be one thing it is that it's OK to steal.
Everything feels borrowed in this film. The Hollywood mentality is, "give me the same, only different," but I think Priest only stuck around for the first part of the saying. It's really too bad to. It's not an awful film, it's just a heaping pile of been there/done that. This priest is the best of the best. Not because we see it in action, but because Hicks (Gigandet) tells us in the beginning. A quick word about Gigandet. I understand him wanted to expand his repertoire, but doing anything except "high school bully" is a BIG stretch. So big I had to write that in caps. Priest needs to track down his niece, because he doesn't like the idea of her being eaten by vampires. I can't blame him, but everyone is either a tight ass, in denial or just depressed. It's not an exciting time. This alternative Western/"1984" looking world isn't really explained either. Humans are blocked off in giant walled cities. Supposedly all of the vampires are dead (spoiler - they're not) and then when they do show up they aren't really explained. Can vampires live forever in this version? How are priests chosen? What powers do they have? How can they run and jump on flying rocks? I'd like to know. Priest isn't too busy with action to explain any of this to me. Urban shows up as Black Hat and we're supposed to have fun with this evil Clint Eastwood cowboy. Every line of dialogue from him and the rest of the cast feels lifted from other films. Nothing is fresh. The 3D is unnecessary, and for PG-13 it's pretty bloody and violent.
Look, I know this is a graphic novel, because I just looked it up on Google. Maybe the source material is good, but this adaptation is not. The worst part is, the film starts with some promise. An animated sequence explains there has always been a war between vampires and man, then priests were trained to kill, and the humans won (supposedly) and then there was no place for the priests in the world that remained. Um, that's a movie I would actually like to see, not the one you've seen given me.
There. I had to. Now you don't. Priest. The end.
FINAL SCORE: 3/10