Movie Review: Priest

Priest Movie Review: Priest

Priest is an entertaining, futuristic action/horror flick based on a popular manga. Not being familiar with the manga, I still enjoyed the movie and was able to follow it the whole way through. The movie runs a brisk 87 minutes and the production design, while far from original, is stylish and impressive. Priest features some decent acting and cool effects and the action scenes are very engaging. This may be a case where style over substance isn’t such a bad thing. Priest is derivative of other movies (everything from Star Wars, Mad Max, The Matrix, and Blade Runner), but it’s worth checking out and an overall good time. I saw the movie in 2D so I can’t comment on the 3D other than to say that the gimmick is wearing thin with me.

Priest is played by Paul Bettany (in an intense, if one-note performance) as a part of an order of “priests” who once battled vampires until it was believed the war was won. The remaining vampires exist far from the “protected cities” in wastelands right out of The Road Warrior. Bettany betrays Church law to find his niece, who was abducted by a pack of vicious vamps. Priest wants to find her before she is turned. The Church (kind of the all-seeing eye right out of 1984/Equilibrium) sends other warrior priests out after Bettany and the race is on. The production design is often stunning. The protected cities reminiscent of Blade Runner while the desert wastelands are right out of Mad Max. The action scenes are also fun (except for one too-dark battle in a cave) and the actors are good in their roles. Karl Urban (at one point literally conducting an orchestra of vampire violence) in a cowboy hat steals most of the scenes as the leader of the pack of vampires, while a wide-ranging cast including everyone from a slumming Christopher Plummer to Maggie Q provide Bettany solid support.

Derivative but stylish, Priest is an underrated flick. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the futuristic action fest and I look forward to seeing it again. Far from a perfect film, but often engaging and entertaining, Priest is solid entertainment with good replay value.

Grade: B+

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