He’s played everyone from Darwin to the Archangel Michael, Paul Bettany can rock any role. As the main character Priest, the well-versed British actor plays a rough 'old West' style strong and silent hero who is on a rescue mission to retrieve a kidnapped young lady. Standing in his way is some badass vampires, and these motherfuckers don’t sparkle.
In the case of Priest, the hero's horse is replaced with a solar powered, turbine driven motorcycle, the prairie is a post apocalyptic wasteland, and the damsel in distress is 18-year old Lucy (Lily Collins) who is kidnapped by the drooling, eyeless “Cloverfield looking” vampires. The leader of the vampires is Black Hat, the very first human hybrid of their kind and one time Priest himself played skillfully by Karl Urban. The Priest's sidekicks include trusted ally and total hottie bad ass Priestess (Maggie Q) and new Sheriff and Lucy’s lover Hicks (Cam Gigandet).
In this time the Priest were once warriors, used to fight a hordes of vampires, but after their mission was over, they returned home and were deemed outcasts in a society who no longer needed them and feared them. Given distinctive facial cross tattoos, they're forced to live in isolation, working petty jobs.
The action and scenery give you a familiar feeling. I thought at times I was watching The Matrix, The Descent or any number of John woo movies. Not saying that any of that is a bad thing, as all those movies were pretty good in my book.
The CGI is pretty good, and the score has simply awesome, as might be expected.
Fortunately, the biggest part of the acting really saves this film. Bettany, who seems drawn to playing religious characters (The Da Vinci Code, Creation, and Legion etc.), is surprisingly good as an action hero. Stephen Moyer (Vampire Bill from True Blood) is excellent but he’s in a very small role. Maggie Q and Lily Collins bring a lot of charisma and emotion to their roles, even though they are hindered by small parts. Carl Urban stands out as the vampire overlord and does a great job of playing the bad guy. Brad Dourif has probably the smallest role of the film, but when he’s on screen he portrays his creepy character quite well. The biggest reason not to like this movie, and it sucks to say so since I am a fan, is Gigandet. The actor seems out of his league most of the movie, not even able to maintain a simple Western-ish accent. He's also had the misfortune of playing the loser of the group. He was given the worst lines and had some shitty and retarded one-liners.
While I hardly hold Priest in the same regards as Snatch or Scott Pilgrim, I'm not calling in a preacher to perform an exorcism and having it cast out either. Its a good movie if you go in knowing what your getting into and having lower than normal hopes.
With all that said I really enjoyed this movie and will probably pick up the Blu-ray when I have the money. I really like Paul Bettany and Carl Urban and this movie did a good job of bringing them together. It was nice to finally watch a vampire movie where the bastards weren’t all pretty boys and sparkled.
Rating (1 - 5)
Jay Red - 3.5
Duckie - 3.5
Peru - 4
If you would like to purchase this, click the links below: