PRIEST is based on a Korean comic book about a post-apocalyptic future wherein the Church-trained and sanctioned warrior-Priests to fight vampires, but when the war was over and the Church had become the government that rules the remaining civilization, the Priests had become inactive, un-gratified members of society. Until our main character, the nameless Priest discovered the re-emergence of a legion of vampires that had kidnapped a girl living in the outlands. Paul Bettany plays that bad-ass warrior Priest; a killing machine of a soldier sanctioned by the Church to wipe out the vampires that has been plaguing the Earth. It’s as if his character from the Da Vinci Code was brought back to live in this post-apocalyptic Wild West.
This was a movie that looks awesome on the trailer and sounds interesting on its synopsis. Unfortunately, it was severely mediocre and there was nothing original or interestingly thrilling about it. PRIEST left me waiting for something exciting to happen, until the end which sealed its fate as dull and tastelessly typical.
Right off the intro, the film seemed like it ironically boasts poor direction. I thought there was a problem with the projector and the sequence of film reels because the first few minutes of the movie looked like it was a sequence from the middle of the movie; it actually was awful editing and lousy directing at work.
The script of the movie is very juvenile. In many instances, there are scenes that have no common sense and just happen for the sake of pulling off a really cheap action sequence (I’m talking about the title character fighting the policemen at the bar). There are various moments in the movie like this; scenes that are totally irrelevant, out of place, and poorly executed (like the scene with our heroes and the vendor of charms).
I have seen many movies with little to totally zero character development, but PRIEST has characters that are literally one-dimensional. And there is even the character of Christopher Plummer whose motivation makes no sense at all. These are all cardboard characters to the point that they are worse than cartoon characters. Making matters worse is the horrendously awful acting from Cam Gigandet as the movie’s secondary protagonist. His acting is awkwardly lousy, which compliments with the lousy script this movie has.
The action was not very impressive. The fighting sequences were bland and forgettable. The fight on the top of the train looked picturesque for action junkies, but hardly exciting.
The few good points of the movie include the concept designs of the landscape, the surreal lifelessness of the desert, and the design of those motorbikes. The other saving grace was that the main protagonist Priest played by Paul Bettany looked cool in his “quiet but deadly” demeanor, along with a costume that makes him look like a Jedi knight and that cross tattoo on his forehead that makes him look like he came off of a heavy metal music video. But then again, you’d have to at least have a young male teenager’s mindset to appreciate the shallow positive points of the movie.
Supposedly, the inclusion of Maggie Q in the cast should have been a good thing. But she was boring in this movie, because she also looked bored. Everybody looked bored and unmotivated. Even Karl Urban (playing the main villain) who was supposed to be constantly taunting the other characters looked like he needed to get drunk so that he could unleash some real acting.
The concept of a post-apocalyptic future wherein the Church acts as the government is something that should have been open to a wide range of interesting thought-provoking and dramatic storyline details to dabble with. I think it was a missed opportunity, ignoring many interesting twists that could be applied here. But this movie seems to just stick to its intended genre: dumb fun. The finished product is indeed dumb. But it was not very fun.
Overall, the movie was bland. It looked like it was only enjoyable or worth your time if you saw it on TV. The movie is not a total wreck, it was not torture, and it was not something that I felt like I had a conscious effort to endure. It was more like something that I felt like I would have been better off spending my money watching Thor or Fast Five again. I cannot easily say that it’s the most awful movie ever made; but at least I am sure to say that it was Not Good.