Scott Charles Stewart
Running Time: 87 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A
Country: United States
In a strange alternate future world where half the people still act and look like they’re in a Western and the other half live in a poor version of Blade Runner, humanity does battle against a formidable vampire force. Mankind retreated behind city walls and then relied on the protection of the church and superhuman ecclesiastical warriors named Priests to defend them and defeat the vampire menace. One Priest (Bettany) – imaginatively named Priest – is called upon to rescue his niece (Collins) when she is kidnapped by a new bunch of vampires out in the sticks and he teams up with Sheriff Hicks (Gigandet) and Priestess (Maggie Q) to go after her and his foes.
Priest is the latest graphic novel adaptation for the big screen and there are some nice little touches on show, like the comic-book backstory and some aspects of the futuristic world. The action is primarily slick and glossy and well-executed so holds that end of the film up well. Also, it is one of those films that is partly saved by a short running time as boredom and tedium are not added to the list of faults.
Unfortunately, that’s where the positive points end. Paul Bettany skulks around this futuristic world refusing to smile but more than happy to spout cringeworthy and predominantly pointless dialogue at every turn leaving Priest as is just another forgettable film notch in Bettany’s acting belt. Cam Gigandet, as Priest’s sidekick, is slightly annoying but Maggie Q is as stable as ever and Keith Urban is pretty decent as the camped up bad guy. Overall, the dialogue and the emotion on show here are flatter than Simba’s Dad is a stampede and therefore gives the cast very little with which to work.
I really didn’t like the style of the surroundings either. Stewart is very confused at which era he is aiming at and it’s a big mess of styles in the end. Priest looks like an episode of Stargate or Star Trek: Deep Space Nine that is done on the cheap and just basically looks like a very familiar setting but with guns and the occasional bit of technology masking the fact that it cost $12 to make. We’ve come to expect more from our modern movies especially if they jump on the 3D bandwagon.
It's Got: A crazy mixed-up world, decent action, a mercifully short runtime
It Needs: Some decent dialogue, character development, just one smile from Paul Bettany
No doubt a fun ride with some things going for it but Priest is just a vacuous airhead that’s completely letdown by a lack of substance.