By: Henry J. Fromage (Five Beers) –
Priest is based on a massive 16 volume Korean graphic novel, but outside of the superficial vampire/Wild West mash-up similarities, it apparently completely ignores its source. It goes on to make a habit of this with the rest of its influences, from The Matrix to Sergio Leone westerns. But you can make up for all of that with lots of special effects, right?
Synopsis: Vampires and humans have been warring for centuries at least until The Church ostensibly eradicated them with its warrior class, The Priests. A former Priest believes different when he’s drawn out of the cities to find his niece, whom he believes has been kidnapped by a new army of vampires.
The technical team does have some skill. Some of the slow motion and fight sequences are actually pretty cool and the sets and background design show an artistic flair. The villain, played by Karl Urban, is admittedly kinda awesome in a Dark Tower sort of way, and makes you wish he had a lot more screen time.
On the flip side you quickly get tired of his foe, and our protagonist, Priest. Paul Bettany, who’s apparently earned the most specific typecast ever: holy man in movies designed to anger the Catholic Church, is all over the place. He lapses in and out of crises of faith like a hypnotist’s victim and apparently confuses ‘love-torn’ with ‘severely constipated.’
Tortured, in several senses of the word
Speaking of faith, director Scott Charles Stewart (Legion) must have both really hated and not paid much attention in Catholic school. He’s clearly trying to make some sort of statement, but instead fills the dialogue with incoherent, pseudo-religious nonsense. Perhaps he has an excuse, though.
Knuckles are for the weak. Sister Flanagan goes for the head.
I didn’t blow any money on the 3D version of this movie, and I frankly pity anyone who did. It was bad enough every time a CGI vampire jumped into frame accompanied by a screech of music, but I can only imagine how pissed I’d be if I spent another five bucks just to have a darker, blurrier version flying at my face.
This movie tries desperately to be cool in a spaghetti western, Tarantino sort of way. What it doesn’t understand is that you can’t stuff an entire movie full of dramatic pauses and slow motion… you need at least a bit of time to build up to all of that. It starts getting ridiculous when you realize they intend on delivering all of the dialogue in a slow, raspy Batman voice.
Which way… to… THE BATHROOM?
This movie accomplishes the rather difficult feat of being both pretentious and really dumb. On the plus side, vampires blow up and stuff.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time someone says ‘priest’
Take a Drink: for every Catholic reference
Drink a Shot: every time the movie tries to make you jump, double if it succeeds