When a group of strangers at a dusty roadside diner come under attack by demonic forces, their only chance for survival lies with an archangel named Michael, who informs a pregnant waitress that her unborn child is humanity's last hope.
Charles S. Dutton
In the year 2019, a plague has transformed almost every human into vampires. Faced with a dwindling blood supply, the fractured dominant race plots their survival; meanwhile, a researcher works with a covert band of vamps on a way to save humankind.
PRIEST, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, is set in an alternate world -- one ravaged by centuries of war between man and vampires. The story revolves around a legendary Warrior Priest from the last Vampire War who now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human inhabitants in walled-in dystopian cities ruled by the Church. When his niece is abducted by a murderous pack of vampires, Priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out on a quest to find her before they turn her into one of them. He is joined on his crusade by his niece's boyfriend, a trigger-fingered young wasteland sheriff, and a former Warrior Priestess who possesses otherworldly fighting skills. Written by
In many scenes, the cross on Priest's face, which is supposed to be a tattoo, is wiped off from the end of his nose and reappears as a full cross. One of the most noticeable moments in a short time span is at the Nightshade Reservation. Priest has one of the familiars pinned to the ground and when the camera focuses on his face, the end of the cross has been wiped off. Camera switches back to the familiar who points to the sky and when Priest turns to face the sun, the cross is fully drawn on again. See more »
The church teaches us that the eyes are the windows to the soul. And that since vampire evolved without eyes, it is a soulless creature, to be eradicated. And I have seen the soul of the vampire, and let me tell you that it is far more pure than that of any man. Now you ask me what I am. I am the bringer of the tide. I am the wave that will wash clean this unclean world. And you, and your Priest, will help me do it.
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Based on the long-running Korean comic of the same name, Priest is one of those films that's been stuck in development hell for the last few years, running a gauntlet of director and lead actor changes and more recently, coping with a series of release date delays in order to facilitate the inevitably shoddy post-production conversion to 3D that's currently so beloved of mainstream cinema.
The added dimension isn't going to win any prizes - for the most part it is relatively pointless, and the world in which Priest takes place is not interesting enough to require any additional depth.
The ever-reliable Paul Bettany stars as the titular character. Stoic to the end, he's not your typical priest - more a deadly weapon, specialising in martial arts and weapons skills that make him the perfect killer. He exists in a time where vampires are a horrifying reality, battling humans for control of a conflict-ridden, barren wasteland punctuated only by large, soulless, church-controlled cities where humans live only for their faith and 'an honest day's labour'.
You don't watch films like this expecting an Oscar-winning tale, and action-wise, Priest is fairly solid, packing in a series of high-octane fights and chases for its duration. Helmer Scott Stewart knows where to put a camera in order to maximise the impact upon the viewer, and the oil-slick manner in which everything is filmed shows a director moving away from his previous field as a visual effects specialist and having a decent stab at mastering his craft.
Unfortunately, there's not a lot going on when knives and bullets aren't being flung around - the supporting cast of Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q and Karl Urban are given next to nothing to do and the dialogue serves only to move the film along to its next set-piece. Story-wise, it's paper-thin, and it's difficult to care about the motivation of any character when the levels of emotion on display resemble that of Mount Rushmore.
It is also strangely edited - 87 minutes is very short for a film with this kind of budget, and there's all manner of blunt cuts that give credence to the theory that there was once a longer, potentially better film here.
So, was Priest worth the wait? Not particularly, but for all its faults, it certainly has promise. Depending on box office performance, it could really benefit from a deeper, beefed-up sequel along the lines of Blade II. The good news is that there's plenty of source material available for a return to this mythology - it's just a shame that it's as shallow as the film it's spawned.
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