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Short, slick and vacuous.
drapertron7 May 2011
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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Like Equilibrium meets Mutant Chronicles minus the depression
lordnemos15 May 2011
Don't get me wrong I'm not going to gush about how great this film was, but to be fair it didn't insult my intelligence either and that's a big plus for me when it comes to films these days. I purposely avoided reading any literature in relation to the "story" of Priest to avoid any bias or pointless expectations.

I wanted to judge it based on what was told in the film alone and honestly I have no complaints as far as the story development went, it was pretty straight forward with the plot, the characters were put into position early on, no dicking about with badly handled sub-plots and phony intrigue. I wouldn't consider this to be a pretentious movie in any way, it's says what it's about from the beginning and it doesn't deviate from that narrative, it doesn't bring in (or keep) useless characters, (unlike "Sucker Punch"), it's a gateway movie but it doesn't treat it's support characters like balsa wood cut-outs (i.e "Thor")

Sure there could have been more action but what action there was, was nicely done, visuals weren't eye popping gorgeous but suited the film none-the-less. This was a lean movie, no needless fluff no overly complex ungainly plot just a "wham bam thank you ma'am" type deal.

This is one of the rare times I'm looking forward to a sequel.
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The Catholic Review of Priest 2011
sir-montag14 May 2011
A priest throwing crosses like throwing stars into a vampire caught my attention.

Vampire meets post-apocalypse meets religious iconography meets Western. Staring Paul Bettany. I had the misfortune to see Legion and I've yet to forgive Mr. Bettany for participating in that wretched wince-fest. So given the actor and the genre, it's probably not going to be an Oscar-nominated type of film. But you know that the moment you saw the trailer.

As a Catholic (the orthodox type that grudgingly accepts Vatican II but mutters about 'the good old days' entirely tongue-in-cheek) it caught my eye. If you happen to be Catholic, every time you see a trailer for a movie where Catholicism is notably featured, you think to yourself 'Oh boy, how are they going to do a hack job that makes it out to be nothing like it actually is this time?'. Can't blame writers though, it's a religion that provides a deep, deep mine of interesting looking iconography and concepts (Apparently Catholic priests are the Ghostbusters of any movie that involves exorcism. You know who they're going to call. An old priest and a young priest.)

Interestingly enough, this film really... Doesn't involve religion. There's the iconography of Catholicism, a few words here and there, but there's really no actual religious content to the film. It's as if a tourist from another planet did a really in-depth one month tour of all things Catholic, but unable to understand the language, did the best job they could of representing it to their friends back home. The film doesn't denigrate Catholicism, it treats it more like a grab bag of 'ooo, that sounds / looks cool' material. It's a post-apocalyptic vampire western that involves characters that participate in a world where there's a State-run religion that is akin to Catholicism in a weird sort of 'parallel dimension where everyone has a goatee' type way. It's what you think you know, but not.

The movie itself is visually interesting. In many ways, it's similar to Event Horizon - another film where a concept wrapped in bad dialog with little to no sane plot caught the viewer's eye with interesting imagery.

Do you like vampires? Do you like westerns? Do you fancy a post-apocalyptic world? Does religion intrigue you, but in a 'not enough to be serious about it' way?

This is your film. It's not a bad film. It's not a great film. If you like certain things, like I do - vampires, vampire killing in a kick-ass style and a certain visual je ne sais quoi, 'world view' that's unlike anything else out there, it's worth seeing.

People you shouldn't take with you to see the film: Serious boring types that get upset if there aren't things like 'good dialog', 'character development' or 'a plot that doesn't make you put your head in your hands'. Much like Ke$ha, it's one of those catchy things you would never admit to enjoying to anyone you respected.

If you happen to be Catholic, rest assured that it's not butchering the religion and presenting some horrific view of it that alienates all who would see it. That's because it doesn't understand religion, but hey (blame the material it's based on - eastern writers tend to have a really strange view of Catholicism and Christianity in general.)

See it in 2D if possible. Like any 3D film originally shot in 2D, the 3D isn't great. Not as bad as Alice, but Avatar it ain't. While rated PG-13, taking anyone who isn't in college or older to see it isn't going to add anything to their life at this point.

And, if you, like me, enjoy it - try not to mention that in respectable company and we can just nod at each other in passing, secure in the belief that not everything enjoyable under the sun needs to be Oscar-worthy material.
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Better Than Expected
Helena14 May 2011
Priest was exactly what I'd hoped for... Visually stunning, great action and fight scenes, decent effects - and in my case being a red-blooded woman, plenty of eye candy. I don't go into these sci-fi/action/monster movies expecting Oscar-caliber story and dialog, so when critics pan these movies for that sort of thing, I just roll my eyes and know I'll probably love it. Maybe that makes me simple, but I go to the movies to escape reality not drown in more of it, so Priest did the trick. I liked it enough to hope they get a sequel out of it.

Paul Bettany and Karl Urban both did a great job in their roles, as did Maggie Q. We were forced to see it in 3D because we missed the 2D show (but at least there was a choice). I tend to not care either way, and go for 2D over paying the '3D tax', but there were some aerial views that were pretty cool in 3D. If you dig dark, fun movies like 'Underworld,' you'll probably like Priest and like any dark, graphic-novel adaptation, it's worth seeing on the big screen for the imagery.
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Could have been much better
sunex114 May 2011
Love the actors, the concept, the genre, the fight scenes, and i want maggie Q to have my baby....but this movie was only so-so.

It needed a better script i think. The story just seemed hollow. Everything they did, just seemed half finished. Paul, who i thnk is awesome, didn't seem to resonate with any of the other cast. It really was like this movie needed another hour to develop itself and them it would have been great.

Worth seeing, if you like action movies, but sadly, your not going to remember this movie by next month.

If you like a good scifi western, see serenity.
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Kick Ass Clergy, Holy Mediocrity!
xamtaro12 May 2011
Visual effects developer-turned-director, Scott Stewart, delivers his second supernatural action film that claims to be "adapted" from the comic book "Priest". Supposedly based on a Korean comic or "manhwa" of same name, the movie "Priest" has NOTHING to do with the original, not even the name of the squinting "strong silent type" main protagonist played by Paul Bettany. Fallen angels, deal with a demon, multiple time frame story lines and all other interesting elements of the original be damned. And perhaps it was for the better since the manhwa's multiple story lines taking place in the Crusades, the old west and the future would just confuse the heck out of everyone.

So they crafted a whole new premise to appeal to the superficial summer action lover. And the one thing they did right was to give us vampires that do not sparkle in the sunlight. These vampires are all teeth and claws who swarm across the world at night attacking from giant hives, a clear reference to the "Aliens" franchise. These savage beasts have been at constant war with mankind since the dawn of time. A beautifully bloody animated prologue sets the back-story of the film about how mankind's salvation came in the form of the Priests, holy warriors who battled the vampire hordes to near extinction.

This story revolves around one of the veteran priests who lives among the other downtrodden human inhabitants of a walled dystopian city ruled by the now totalitarian church. When he receives word that his niece was abducted by a murderous pack of vampires, the priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out of the city and rescue her. He is joined on his crusade by his niece's boyfriend, a young trigger-finger wasteland sheriff. But as the duo soon discover, reports of the vampires' return have been greatly understated. With a powerful yet familiar threat is leading the newly reformed vampire hordes, the wayward Priest and his companion must fend off supernatural foes and contend with a group of fellow Priests sent to hunt down their rogue brother.

"Priest" is one cliché storm of a film that commits the cardinal sins of a paper thin plot and forgettable characters thanks to the inexperience of first time writer Cory Goodman. The characters are so forgettable that the writer never even bothered to give many of them names. Paul Bettany's main character is just called "Priest" (It is not his name by the way). There is also "Black Hat" (because he wears a black hat) and "The Priestess" (because she is a female priest) just to name a few. They are less like actual characters and more like blank character archetypes thrown in for plot convenience. Archetypes like Cam Gigandet's hot headed Sheriff Hicks (a second reference to Aliens perhaps?) and Lily Collin's damsel in distress Lucy are just as forgettable even though they do have names.

Failing to provide interesting characters or a good story, the least the producers could do was to deliver a holy hell load of violence with a hard R or M18 rating. Sadly the animated prologue has more blood and guts than the entire film combined since most of the gorier battles take place in darkness or amid dust. The Fights are well choreographed but they tend to be more stylish than practical and sometimes border on illogical. For example, a duel on a high speed train is awesome but none of the combatants ever thought of kicking his opponent off the side? But despite these failings of the flesh, some salvation comes to "Priest" in the form of an excellent production design. From the dark cyberpunk inspired Church city to the post apocalyptic western towns dotting the hostile desert lands, great attention had been paid to make those places as believable as possible. Perhaps most memorable would be the tech on display in the film which includes futuristic motorcycles, tricked out shotguns and the Priests' arsenal of deadly cross-themed blade weapons.

Beyond the props, flawless visual effects and startling CGI, the movie tries as well to inject its narrative with deeper subtexts. The Priests themselves call to mind stories of War veterans who were shunned by society and unable to re-integrate, a theme made most famous in "Rambo: First Blood". The film also makes fun of how some churches twist their religion into a means of control, the hypocritical "holier-than-thou" attitude of modern Christians and their single minded belief that they remain "saved from evil" as long as they worship God. It is not intentionally "anti-Christian" or "anti-catholic". It is more of a clever satire but there will always be the more conservative ones who would cry sacrilege.

At only 87 minutes long, Priest moves at a brisk pace and at the very least it is not boring. It would no doubt entertain action junkies and fans of post apocalyptic thrillers although more time could have been spent developing the characters or delving into the underlying themes that were addressed. Priest is spectacular but soulless, with a nice looking "body" but barely enough "blood" and "spirit" to satisfy the more sophisticated movie goer.

6.5/10 Rounded down to 6
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Better than you may think ...!
te_rajo9 May 2011
Priest opened last Friday in Spain.I went to the cinema without knowing the mange or the back story. I watched the trailer and I though the movie was going to be a Paul Anderson style post apocalyptic crap fest. Oh boy, how wrong I was. Yes there's "bullet-time" sequences in the action but that's not the point. The action scenes are well shoot and you can see clearly the movements and the characters.neat editing. It's like a superhero movie that rips on zombie movies, vampire movies, mad max movies, spaghetti western movies and a little bit blade runner too. Some of "Daybreakers" some of I am legend.But…it works. It's not my kind of a movie but I found myself yelling and having fun all along its 87 minutes running. Yes, there's CGI creatures but the design of the monsters it's really cool. There's a very well done animated prologue and stunning sets and photography of the apocalyptic plain field.It's a decent comic book-action-western-horror film but don't expect deep on's simple, effective and entertaining. Well done!
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Beautifully stark
pkgrl14 May 2011
I loved Priest. It was a visually stunning piece of art, very beautiful even in the post-apocalyptic world in which it was set. Each scene was thoughtfully composed and really pulled you into the film... even without that annoying 3D. (I saw it in 2D and completely loved every second.) I've never read the comics so I didn't have any preconceived notions about what I'd be getting into. The film's composition, pace, story, and overall look are what drew me in, the characters kept me there. Sure there were a few "surprises" that weren't really surprises, but that's only because I don't think they were intended to be surprises to the audience, only to other characters.

Karl Urban is awesome (all the time, not just in Priest ;)) and Paul Bettany is a quiet, understated hero in the title role. Even the music was gorgeous.

Highly recommended. =D
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Decent enough if underdeveloped
TheLittleSongbird31 August 2011
In all honesty while the film looked kind of interesting I was from reading reviews that it was a waste of time(not just on IMDb). So I watched Priest expecting little, but while it had a fair amount of problems with it I found it decent. Is it the best of year? No. The worst? Nowhere near for me. Priest in my mind is somewhere near the lower-middle of the spectrum.

Where Priest scores especially is in the costume and set design which look wonderful, and the photography and editing looks very slick and the lighting atmospheric. The soundtrack is excellent too, with a rather epic feel to it sometimes. I enjoyed the performances of Paul Bettany and Cam Gigandet, was intrigued somewhat by the characters, even if they are a little vacuous and found the direction decent.

What wasn't so good was primarily the length, I personally think Priest was on the too-short side. Had the film been longer, the script could have been less choppy and underdeveloped and the story-though it did have an interesting concept to work from- less rushed and simplistic. Mostly I was impressed with the stylish look of the film, but I did occasionally find the effects on the artificial side.

Overall, underdeveloped and rather rushed, but the film's look especially saves it. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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Sci-Fi thriller about an alternative society defended by the Church and an outcast priest looking for his kidnapped niece
ma-cortes25 June 2012
Futurist film based on graphic novel series "Priest" by Min-Woo Hyung with interesting screenplay by Cory Goodman . After centuries of war between humans and vampires , the Church assigns warrior-priests to defeat the vampires . The survivors are kept in reserves and hives and the men live in chaotic cities governed by the Church . A rebel priest (Paul Bettany , Gerard Butler was originally cast) disobeys church law to track down the vampires who kidnapped his niece (Lily Collins , Phil Collins's daughter) . His War is Eternal but his mission is just the beginning . The outcast priest sets out to look for his niece along with a young sheriff named Hicks (Cam Gigandet , though Steven Strait was originally cast) . Then , they encounter themselves chased by bloodthirsty , predatory vampires which have added them to his food chain . Sooner a warrior Priestess (Maggie Q) unites the Priest and Hicks in their quest . The duo along with the priestess must confront carnivorous mutants , hordes of warrior vampires starving of human blood and some of the most horrifying creatures ever made . At a hive the group is surrounded , as they encounter a pack of carnivorous , crawling creatures that are waiting for them , facing their destruction and exposed to cruel bites by meat-eating sickos and finally battle their deadly enemy , Black Hat (Karl Urban) . They undertake a desperate fighting to survive and chase a train to find his niece called Lucy (this is a throwback to the Dracula of Bram Stoker, where there is also a character named Lucy, who is also an engaged redheaded girl in need of saving) .

This exciting picture is set in a post-apocalyptic , an alternate world , one ravaged by centuries of battle between human and bloodsuckers , it contains thrills , chills , plot twists , action-filled with fierce fights and lots of gore and guts . The terror and action moments are fast moving and compactly realized . The film turns out to be a crossover among several films , taking ideas here and there , resulting to be an entertaining movie . And of course the theme of people being stranded in a hostile , perilous environment with attackers creatures is justly reminiscent of many others films as Pitch Black , Pandorum , Descent or Resident Evil saga . The creepy images of wide range from the genuinely fantastic to the bizarre along with an eerie and amazing frames . It's predictable but also its predictability is redeemed for some extraordinary surprises and in part by the charismatic acting from the main protagonists , Bettany and Gigandet . Furthermore a notorious secondary cast as Christopher Plummer , Brad Dourif , Stephen Moyer , Alan Dale , Madchen Amick , among others . The flesh-eating mutants appearance deliver the goods, plenty of screams, shocks and tension. The make-up assistants and visual effects artists create the truly terrible cannibal vampires , adding spectacular frames in 3D . Horrifying and astonishing images about eerie events and creepy scenarios are colorfully photographed by Don Burguess , and including luminous scenes from a futurist desert . Thrilling and suspenseful musical score by Christopher Young , an expert on dark atmospheres . The motion picture was well directed by Scott Charles Stewart , a visual effects specialist and who previously made a similar flick titled ¨Legion¨ . Rating : Acceptable and passable . Worthwhile watching .
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Awful Script Sinks Vampire Hunters
chaz-2812 May 2011
Unlike the film vampires you are familiar with who are articulate, handsome, and philosophical, the vampires in Priest are savage animals, almost like feral wolves. Based on a series of graphic novels, the title Priest refers to an elite squad of vampire hunters who, working directly for the Catholic Church, battle vampires. According to the back story, humans and vampires have been in direct and bloody conflict throughout history. Due to the priest's successes, the humans finally won the war but then walled themselves up in a towering city now under the thumb of a theocratic Catholic government. There are confessional booths along the street which resemble public toilets.

The successful priest warriors were disbanded after the vampire wars and told to integrate with society and becomes regular civilians, something they do not excel at very well. Suddenly, a frontier farmhouse is attacked and the family's daughter is kidnapped by an alleged resurgent vampire horde. Coincidentally, the family is related to the most dangerous and skilled priest, Paul Bettany. Disobeying his elders who do not believe in the return of vampires, Bettany takes off on a quest to rescue his niece and is joined along the way by a sheriff, Cam Gigandet, who thinks he has what it takes to fight vampires, and a former priest colleague, Maggie Q, who provides Bettany's priest with the expected sexual temptation to break his priestly vows of celibacy.

Unfortunately, the film makers did not make the decision to construct a serious, action/western, vampire film. The director, Scott Charles Stuart, is primarily a visual effects artist and previously directed Legion, a better film also starring Paul Bettany. The dialogue in Priest is a surefire nominee for worst screenplay of the year with atrocious dialogue and direct theft from very similar genre movies. There are pieces of the Mad Max wasteland, the Underworld issue of cross breeds, the walled city of Judge Dredd, and the vampires resemble the 'things' from Pandorum. The actors do their best to muddle through their mundane and predictable conversations; Bettany and Maggie Q come across very well as vampire hunters and stalled lovers, but Gigandet as the sheriff is saddled with a horrible role, the worst dialogue, and awkward poses. The supporting cast mostly comes from HBO shows including Stephen Moyer from True Blood and Brad Dourif from Deadwood. Christopher Plummer also pops up as the main authoritarian priest but it makes you wonder what Plummer is doing in a film like this.

Overall, the 3D is not bad, it's pretty crisp actually. The fight scenes; however, are not up to par. There are too many cuts and edits to logically follow any particular fight with fluidity. You lose track of where the good guys and bad guys are and it usually becomes a jumbled mess until you finally see one of the bodies fall to the ground. An awful script, choppy action sequences, and direct thieving from superior genre films all lead me to persuade you to stay away from Priest.
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Priest (2011) BOMB
JoeKarlosi16 May 2011
Bela Lugosi and Christoher Lee, where are you? For the youngsters with ever-shortening attention spans, I see vampires have now been tailored down to animated CGI creature-things with bald heads and extended wide-mouthes which roar through their pointed teeth, hopping around on all fours quickly and randomly, bouncing off the walls like Walt Disney grasshoppers on a never-ending sugar rush. The lead character always wears a hat and a long coat like Hugh Jackman did in VAN HELSING, and there's a lot of flying about and leaping. Oh, and good dialogue is not important anymore, and neither are cinematic colors ...gray and steel is suitably drab enough. As usual, it's no longer even desired to strain your brain in attempting to follow any kind of "plot" by the time you get five minutes into this thing. 0 out of ****
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Priest (2011)
jtwcosmos3 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
"Whatever you hear, don't scream".

This is the story of a man with a mission. A war hero who is forced once more to take up arms, put on his boots and take his valiant steed for one last charge against the enemy.

The movie starts with a manga clip that explains the history of the universe that we're about to witness. It is a violent history, where mankind has been at war with the Vampire Nation for many centuries, fighting for survival throughout the ages. First with knives, then with swords, then with guns, then with bigger guns, then with even bigger guns and finally with Priests - the most powerful fighting machine ever created. The Priests are the ultimate weapon, an elite force of formidable warriors with a special gift from God. Or was it from the Church? Not sure.

But then we come to the present time and... it is ugly. In no uncertain terms, this is one ugly movie. The colors are hideous, monotonous and... brown. Everything is brown. It is as if the art designer had no other color to use. Or he was angry with the producers (or with the audience, not sure who's the target of the joke here) and wanted revenge. Or something. I have never seen so much brown gathered in one place in my life.

The music is standard fare, not great but not completely inept, either. Just... forgettable. The direction is terrible and everything is filmed from the hip, so to say. There is no search for the perfect angle, there is no artistic vision, the framing is bad, there are no visual goodies, nothing. It is the work of a 10 year old with a camera. Come to think of it, even a 10 year old would have had a little more imagination.

The sets are limited and unidirectional, there is no dept to them, they are all made in a straight line, none of them has any room to go anywhere, to expand and take shape, there are no side streets and there are no corners. And the same could be said about the script. The story goes only one way and if it would turn one corner, just for once, it would fall off the edge of it's unidimensional world.

The actors are wasted and they should have avoided this mess of a movie. Paul Bettany is good, Karl Urban had not much to do or say about anything, Maggie Q was impressive, and it was nice to see Mädchen Amick again. For all of 2 minutes.

Priest. Terrible movie that makes you wonder: is this anti-Christian propaganda or what? 2/10. Only because Mädchen Amick is in it.
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A study in clichés
eidlehands13 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The movie Priest is based upon the graphic novels of Hyung Min-woo. As I have not read them, I can only hope that the source material was nowhere near as clichéd as the movie. I am pretty sure that the write, Cory Goodman, pulled out his Giant Book of Movie Clichés and check- marked each and every chapter as he added them to the movie.

In the movie, you will find:

The tortured protagonist: Tortured by his past. Pulled out of retirement to save his family and willing to break the rules to do so.

The love-struck side-kick: In love with the kidnapped girl and will do anything to save her. Including threaten the priest who kills vampires with his hands.

The ex-best friend turned villain: Not even close to a spoiler as it pretty obvious 30 seconds into the movie. The overly melodramatic villain: Is it in the rule manual that when you get turned into a supernatural villain, your acting abilities are thrown out the window?

The love-struck partner: Really? Really? We already have one love story in the movie and have been hit over the head repeatedly on how dedicated these guys are to their duty. Unrequited love just makes it sad.

The victim: Left alive and untouched by the villain. Why? So she can be saved. Not even a good throw-away line that she is alive only to be killed dramatically.

The sleaze turned informant: He doesn't even give any information that the villain doesn't already know or at least expect. He's there simply to prove how evil the villain is.

The government blind to the situation: This could have worked just as well by having the Priest sent on the mission with full approval. But no. It had to be shown that he was willing to break the rules.

Arnold Chon: The new Al Leong. A great martial artist who's there for one reason and one reason only. To do a cool 30 second routine and then get his ass killed.

For all of that, I enjoyed it for the cost of an early bird matinée ticket. This could have easily been better written with very little extra effort and become a truly great movie.
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Great Movie !! the rating is completely lame.
dema_moe11 May 2011
I really liked this movie and i must say the Paul Bettany performed more than great in the movie. The voting here is completely false, Priest deserves at least a rating of 7. The only thing i hated in this movie was the 3D, don't waste your money watching it in 3D, only few good effects. I'm guessing that a sequel "Priest 2" will be released in the upcoming years because Priest (Paul Bettany) says that it's just the beginning, it's not the end of the war between Humans and Vampires. Don't worry people, go ahead and watch it, but it's fine not to watch it in 3D, because you'll only see few good effects. I Hope the rating increases in the upcoming days when it gets released in USA.
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Not Enough Faith
TourettesPersonal12 May 2011
The trailer of "Priest" looks promising because of its visual universe and non-sparkly vampires are involved. Some people are saying this movie is this year's "Daybreakers" & they're right. Aside from being a futuristic vampire movie, this movie has the same nasty flaws. Interesting World but weak plot, It stars big actors but end up being shoddy. The filmmakers are just too dependent to the visuals and the action but I don't think that's enough.

The world of this movie is kind of interesting. The visual world & production design brings life to the whole film. Seeing how unique looking their trains & motorcycles are. Their guns and utility are as cool as we expect. The special effects are just as simple as any movie can get. The "familiar" people are creepy.

The movie feels like a first part of a series. I'm not very familiar with the graphic novel though. It doesn't have a big of a plot. It's just a very simple plot but what's worse in here is the poor script. Most dialogue can be as painful as the dialogue from "Legion". There are dumb action scenes that are enough to entertain the audience.

The performances? Paul Bettany did the same thing in "Legion". One serious dude. It's fun to see Maggie Q do something awesome. When she's in the character, she's pretty bland & it's the script's fault. Cam Gigandet & Karl Urban are fun to watch but still not the best. Christopher Plummer needed more screen time.

Overall "Priest" is better than that nonsense talky movie "Legion". It's still hard to call it a good movie though. Scott Stewart still wanted to make talky scenes. The vampire slaying scenes were few. The pacing is too quick. The movie is too short. The only praise here is the interesting visual design & some of the music score, the rest is just sheer lameness and such. And once again, the script wasted a good concept. If you want more intellectual then go back to Chris Hemsworth and his pet hammer.
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Easy to criticize, but easy to enjoy
mavrachang116 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
So I understand a lot of people consider this a vacuous film, but I see some very good points: Primarily: The comparison of a totalitarian Catholic monotheocracy (didn't we see this in the Middle Ages? Hmmm?) with a vampiric but freedom-loving underclass. Who do we cheer for? Both sides have ugliness, both sides have some valid aspects. By the way, I'm not comparing this to the original comic. That would be an insult to both the comic and the film. This work is simply what it is. There are many derivative elements: Maggie Q does a fantastic impersonation of Trinity from the Matrix, complete with motorcycle. The bad guy is predictable, and I'm reminded of John Carpenter's Vampires, and the Blade films, wherein both attempt or succeed to create a daywalker, a vampire who can survive sunlight. The biggest flaw, to me, was the fact that the priests have a cross tattooed on their forehead, and in Priest's world, crosses are effective, yet somehow they make a hybrid priest-vampire with a cross on his forehead. I cannot resolve this conflict. I had some giggles, as another reviewer mentioned, from watching these priests repeatedly go "nitro" on their motorcycles. That part was just plain silly. It is flawed, but there are moments. Christopher Plummer is a scene stealer as the smug high priest of the church. Were they afraid to call him Pope? I wonder. The commentary about the Catholic church could go on and on, but I like their approach: "If you oppose the church, you oppose God!" Yes, it's a paraphrase, so don't get all wrapped up in it. This is all opinion. There are elements of: Mad Max, The Matrix, (Carpenter's) Vampires, Alien, Crouching Tiger (hated it), Unforgiven, Twister, and many other films. All I can offer is, it is fun. Brad Dourif (the sheriff in Rob Zombie's remake of Halloween and the voice of Chucky, the best serial killer in a plastic doll's body) had a great cameo as one of the vampires' familiars and a traveling holy water salesman. Also, skip the 3D nonsense. They are just trying to get $10 more from you. Don't be a sucka! Final observation: I saw this on a Saturday late afternoon, theater half full, and there was scattered applause at the conclusion. They also leave plenty of room for a sequel. I would pay to see the sequel.
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A Nutshell Review: Priest
DICK STEEL9 May 2011
It's not too hard to understand why Americanized films of Asian pop culture easily gets into a furore amongst fans, because the track record so far, with films such as Godzilla some time back, and Blood: The Last VampireXXX recently, are pretty dismal in having no effort spent in trying to remain true to the respective folklores. Before you get up in arms about the adaptation of Akira, you can first add Priest into the mix, a film based on the Korean comic created by Hyung Min-woo that combines the Western genre with horror, but this film is anything but Hyung's original content, and remotely so other than to borrow some themes and settings, and little else.

First of all, one gets a dumbed down story that should appeal to the lowest denominator amongst audiences worldwide for the sole reason to get its set action sequences up and running. Cory Goodman crafts a tale about a time where Humans and Vampires get locked in an eternal war, only for a breed of special humans blessed by the Divine to become sacred warriors known as Priests, who tipped the balance of favour for the humans, and with the belief of the vampires' extinction, so too does the Priests who get stripped of their authority and function by the clergy for fear that they become all too powerful. So they are forced to go underground to well, seek alternative employment.

It's little wonder that this film touches base on how veteran soldiers get treated past their use by date, where humans who step forward in defense of an ideal, ultimately get tossed aside by politicians or society when peace prevails, offering little compassion or sympathy toward those deemed killers, in a new era that calls for none of their skillsets, and little tolerance for those who have their hands stained with blood. I appreciated how this thematic aspect got weaved into the narrative, but seriously it didn't dwell on it long enough to garner its supposed impact on the audience, opting instead to gloss over it rather quickly for its more straightforward plot in quite similar terms to Taken, involving a Priest (Paul Bettany) in his mission to rescue his niece (Lily Collins) from the clutches of her vampiric kidnappers.

But of course there are the usual twists and true intentions kept under wraps for the most part, which may seem quite smart if not for its rather chunky delivery, involving a massive train ride that contributed to a major action sequence in the last act. The action choreography though leaves much to be desired, with its plenty of wire stunts and overworked computer graphics that rather than being photo-realistic, it became rather animated and cartoony in approach, where ironically its animated introduction of the premise was a notch better in terms of execution (pardon the pun), having its fair share of bloody gore and horror. Most of the money shots got included in the trailers, so there isn't much left to surprise you, other than some hastily assembled martial arts flips and somersaults, plus plenty of oh-so-cool poses which comes courtesy of Maggie Q's Priestess, here to provide some brushes of forbidden romance between those who have taken that vow of celibacy.

Paul Bettany seems to enjoy having to play such apocalyptic, messiah-like character, where his earlier film Angel comes to mind, and this film being just comparable to that effort. He scowls ever so often in this film, dispatching his CG enemies with aplomb, since they look like cheap throwaways from the Alien franchise and don't offer much of a challenge against a man who has at his disposal, plenty of silver weaponry of various shapes and sizes, together with moments of prayer to calm nerves. Joining the Priest in his mission are the Priestess (as mentioned) after the halfway mark, and the Wasteland Sheriff Hicks (Cam Gigandet) who has the hots for the Priest's niece and is in this to rescue his beloved, having to inform the Priest of her kidnapping. Karl Urban is totally wasted as Black Hat, the chief villain with an intention to carry on the good fight of the vampires, as he spends most of the time in shadow, and like most cheap villains, spend too much time talking than to finish off his opponents.

Those who decide on the 3D version of this film, save your money. As already explained, films that converts 2D into 3D formats during post production aren't worth your time and effort, and Priest just reinforces why. There are little 3D effects that will genuinely wow, and most come across as pretty lame 2D knock ups, since the action sequences aren't exactly designed with 3D in mind. Also, given that the film's setting is already filled with plenty of darkness, having to put on those glasses make this film ridiculously dark in presentation, since whatever minute light got cut off, and you'll wish you're better off with watching the 2D version instead. You have been warned.

With release dates being postponed time and again and ultimately decided upon this week, that is almost always a clear indication of either a troubled production, or a studio having little faith in its final product. And this shows up in the film, with its rather direct-to-the- point plotting and generic, yet another uninspiring vampire themed action adventure that could have been a lot more.
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In 4-D: Dull, Drab, Dismal Downer
RichardSRussell-113 May 2011
Priest (1:27, PG-13, 3-D) — borderline, 2nd string, crossover, OSIT cynics

So here's a bunch of actors who've hovered on the outskirts of the big time for awhile. Paul Bettany is best known as the ship's doctor in Master and Commander, but that was a decade ago. He's since shown up in supporting roles in The Da Vinci Code and Inkheart. He headlined as the archangel Gabriel in Legion, which I hope nobody saw. Cam Gigandet is perhaps best known to SF fans for the car-crash-fascinating Pandorum. Karl Urban is much younger, handsomer, and more virile than his best known role as the aged, weary King Eomer in Lord of the Rings, and he didn't really get a chance to show this off as Bones in Star Trek. Finally, Maggie Q, once eye-catching as part of the Impossible Mission Force, has since been reduced to such stereotypical roles as the Asian fighting machine in the regrettable Balls of Fury.

Now, probably hoping for a breakthru in a healthy-budgeted actioner, they get stuck with this dull, drab, dismal downer. At least they got to rub elbows with Christopher Plummer, who was playing the middle-aged Baron Von Trapp in (ta da) 1965!

DULL: Almost all the story is crammed into an expository lump at the beginning, animated comic-book style. Here we learn that men (for so they are known) and vampires have been at war since forever. The latter are strong and swift, which is sufficient to overcome the human advantage with mechanics and sunlight. Still, it's a fearsome toll all around, a la WW1 trench warfare, until the rise of a class of warrior priests, superbly conditioned and trained, who succeed in beating the vampires back into reservations. By then, the exhausted humans have hunkered down fearfully in their enclosed cities, ruled over with an iron fist by a church which constantly reminds everyone "To go against the church is to go against God." The hierarchy is embarrassed by the post-war veteran priests, who are aimless now that they no longer have a purpose.

There are half a dozen good story possibilities here. We get none of them. Instead it's a trip out into the desert (about the distance of a long suburban commute, it looks like) on turbine- powered motorcycles to fight some vampires, then a trip back, doing the same. That's it. That's the whole of the live action, and even that has to be padded out by going to slo-mo for the fight sequences to yield even the pathetically brief running time. (Yes, I know: terrible food, and the portions were so small.)

DRAB: I have no idea why they bothered wasting color stock filming this. It's 98% shades of gray, mainly dark. It was down-converted to (not shot in) 3-D, for no obvious reason and to no apparent effect. A dead giveaway that this was an afterthot is the use of dissolves instead of cuts. Anyone with experience in 3-D knows that such a method of scene transition is at least disorienting and perhaps nausea-inducing for the audience.

DISMAL: Man, there is just no life anywhere in this movie. Like The Book of Eli there's a small town out in the desert, and there's no hint whatsoever of how they survive without water or crops. Even the mainly light-hearted, kid-friendly Rango treated the issue more seriously. And the dank, depressing (2 more "D"s) city with its dour, domineering (2 more) episcopate are even more (can I say it?) discouraging. The performances are similarly dismal. The entire cast shares a total of maybe 4 expressions among them during the course of the film, nobody ever hogging more than 2.

DOWNER: Not only is there no happy ending (unless you get your jollies from death and destruction, the big explosion being the sole source of color in the movie), there is no happy beginning, nothing happy in the middle, and the prospect of no happiness in the foreseeable future. This is a film for cynics.

I categorize it under "borderline", because it's not apparent whether this is supposed to be a far-future or an alternate Earth (or even Earth at all), and because it's not clear whether the vampires can be explained biologically (SF) or supernaturally (fantasy). This is the only border that Priest rises UP to.

Why did I give it such a high rating (3 = bad)? Because it wasn't actively, aggressively annoying. (For THAT, we'll have to wait for the Smurfs movie advertised in the trailers.) It just wasn't any good.
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Not impressive, but enjoyable!
semely6 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Paul Bettany & Karl Urban & Cam Gigandet = YUM!!!!!!!!!!!! If they weren't in shirts at all times (**sigh**) then the result would definitely make all ladies' jaws to hit the floor with a thud!! Unfortunately (with the exception of one –just one (!)- snapshot) they were…

Film was enjoyable but did not stand up to -at least my- expectations… As a concept and an idea it had sooo much more to give, however the actual plot was pretty much what we have all already seen in similar films. No gore/horror was involved (possibly to achieve the 12A rating) and the actions scenes were quite nicely filmed but nothing to rock your world. As one of my must-see films for this season I was expecting way more. However,

All in all, Priest is a stylish yet kind of flat depiction of what is supposed to be a typical, (supposedly) action packed vampire fighting film, with some eye-candy male actors.. Some vampires were killed face to face with the priest but the majority was killed by a massive…wait for it….bomb :P Hahaha, to be honest with you people who haven't seen it yet, go see Vampires (1998) instead, it's so much funnier. Those of you who have seen Vampires but have not the Priest, then the suggestion alone draws the picture for you!

What has to be highlighted is that the 3D was completely unnecessary. There was not even a single scene where you could see any sort of depth in the film sequence or at least a part to justify why 3D was required. What a pity :(

Finally, if you have limited access to cinema and are considering it, just wait for it to be released on DVD. You will not miss anything special…

If you go to the movies regularly, then grab a huge pack of corn and coke, sit back and enjoy ^_^
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Insipid Search: A Flawed Cry For Help
jonnyhavey13 May 2011
"Insipid Search: A Flawed Cry For Help" Director John Ford must be rolling over in his grave this week with the release of Priest taking Ford's masterpiece The Searchers replacing cowboys with priests and Native Americans with vampires. Even if this is just a coincidence as Director Scott Stewart adapts the film from the Korean comic written by Min-Woo Hyung teaming up with Paul Benttany for the second year in a row following last year's Legion. Again he tries to hide strong Christian undertones within a horror flick delving into godly protection. Bettany stars as the main character referred to as Priest, who is specially trained to kill vampires in the name of the church and God. His reputation precedes him after fighting in a war against the vampires resulting in their imprisonment in vampire reservations. However, years later a wasteland sheriff named Hicks (Cam Gigandet, The Roommate) reveals news to Priest that one of Priest's kin has been killed and his niece Lucy (Lily Collins, The Blind Side) kidnapped by vampires and an evil man named Black Hat (Karl Urban, RED). After being told to stand down by his order because Monsignor Orelas (Christopher Plummer, The Last Station) doesn't believe that the vampires are a threat, Priest disobeys and flees to find his niece. Consequently, Monsignor Orelas sends a group of Priest's peer warriors after him to stop him. Priestess (Maggie Q, Live Free or Die Hard) tracks down Priest and Hicks, however, instead of dissuading their journey she helps them as they trail the vampires lead by Black Hat in Searchers fashion. Paul Betanny has chosen some very interesting supernatural roles recently within very horrid films. His role in Priest is no exception, however, he is is still able to have a very average performance portraying his one-dimensional role. Cam Gigandet has had a similar problem with pathetic roles and has a subpar performance at all. Also, with the territory of their characters comes a film that is at its best during its visual driven special effects. They aren't great at any means, but they aren't as trashy as the rest of the film. The film bypasses its development stage after showing a brief exposition of the film's similarity with The Searchers and a poorly animated storybook narration scene. Following is a story stripped down far too lean stretched thin over a short runtime. The script is cliché and messy making the film neither a strong horror film, nor an action adventure flick. It fails to produce any memorable material and has terrible acting overall. Karl Urban is especially despicable in the film with very cheesy dialogue made up of second-rate one-liners. Lastly, while the darkness of the film attempts to act as clever cinematography instead it adds to the dull tone of the film. Priest is underwhelming and insipidly commonplace to be anything more than just a flawed cry for help. Gigandet has achieved a great yet disgraceful feat in 2011, managing to be cast in the two worst films of the year.
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'Priest' is a new candidate for 10 Worst Films of 2011
calibanpb30 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
'Priest' could have been so good. Fine cast. Quirky premise. But the writer and director have brought it to us as a shameless rip-off of John Ford's classic "The Searchers", with Bettany and Gigandet covering the John Wayne and Jeffrey Hunter roles. This even includes the discovery of the lost doll in the sand. The basic dramatic convention of 'willing suspension of disbelief' is abused here to the point of absurdity. In fact, the writer and director render it impossible. The motorbikes outracing the speeding train? By miles? Stand up brawl on top of the speeding train? There is no exposition that is plausible. The action is pure comic book. Cam Gigandet's character is never developed. Nor is the Priestess. Christopher Plummer's arch-priest is set up as some sort of secret baddie, but we never see get to see 'if' and 'why'. Why continue. The action is utterly preposterous. The plot is never developed. Nor are the characters. This was an utter waste of money, even at bargain matinée prices. These actors will NEVER cite this film willingly in the future among their credits.
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Cardboard has more flavor
poj-man14 July 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Wow...and I thought Legion was bad! Priest is even worse! This story is as just the lines with the numbers inside the lines. No paint was put in the paint by numbers shapes.

Paul Bettany is a Priest. We know this because a cross is tattooed to his forehead. We know he will go against the church because to go against the church is to go against God...and we wouldn't have a movie if he didn't do that.

After a bunch of nothing happens he hops on a combination motorcycle & jet engine to rocket across the wasteland to the outpost. The outpost is a gazillion miles away from the only city and ruins of cities are seen along the way...but he never stops for gas. Instead he goes nearly 200 mph and then he hits the button that says "NITRO" and he rockets farther and faster! this weird blah colored world...if it is convenient to have nitro rocketing vehicles or a train that runs along a track for nowhere then the film has it. However...even though there appear to be no factories or economic distribution system...everyone wears conveniently made clothing like you would buy at the mall.

This movie is just plain dumb...even for a horror movie.
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Ignore all the h8rs and see one kick-ass movie!
The_Panther418014 May 2011
In a world of a.d.d. and people who can't seem to handle complicated twist and turns and 2:30 hour movies, this one is for you! It runs under an hour and a half and despite it being in 3D (i saw it in regular 2D and it was fine) If you've read or wiki'd the graphic novel of "Priest" you'll know that they changed it. Personally i think it works for the better. This is defiantly thee best vampire movie i have ever seen. Scott Charles Stewart does a heluva job in his (3rd) 2nd real "big" movie. And Cory Goodman also did a heluva job transferring the graphic novel about fallen angels and the devil to a genre that puts together the very best of Westerns, Horrors, Mad Max, and action films that makes "Cowboys and Aliens" look like that will also kick some major ass.

"Priest" starts out with an eerie background scene with Paul Bettany, Maggie Q, Karl Urban and the other priets lurking the catacombs of a hive. It then goes on to explain the history of this world in a very nicely done graphic novel kind of way with some anime. Stephen Moyer (True Blood fans will love the movie too) opens the plot with his wife and daughter getting attacked by something who ends up taking the daughter Lucy. The Priest order is basically a group of powerful warriors trained to kill vampires and they are really the only people who can stand a chance. But after the war, the church locked the remaining vampires away and all is declared well in Denmark. The Church plays off very Dark Age like. They are powerful and what they say goes. Almost right up to King George era. With the vampires locked up and all well in the world, the Priest order is disbanded and ordered to basically stay out of trouble. So the trained for war Priest are left out in the cold with no other real skills other then slaying vampires. Paul Bettany is the best of the priest order and he is trouble by constant nightmares about the opening scene in the catacombs. He is encouraged by the Monsignor played brilliantly by Christopher Plumber to just forget about it. But with the arrival of Hicks (played by Cam Gigandet) the sheriff of the town recently attacked, Priest finds out that it was his family that was the ones attacked. His brother (Moyer) was badly injured, sister in law killed and niece taken and Hicks swears it was a vamp attack. But the church, mainly Monsignor Orelas (Plumber) refuses to let Priest go because there IS NO vampire problem. At the local bar talking with the only man on the church council on his side (Alan Dale) he decides to go against the church and as he was told over and over again, "Going against the church is going against God!" So he and Hicks take off to his family's town to try and pick up their trail. Paul Bettany and Moyer have a good hearted scene where he makes his brother promise to get Lucy back and kill them all.

Meanwhile the man in the Black Hat (played freaking awesomely by Karl Urban, very creepy and very bad, which is very good for us!) who has Lucy and with his group of familiars and vampires wreak havoc on unsuspecting towns. So its up to Priest and Hicks, who is in love with Lucy, to find her before she is bitten and thus forcing Priest to kill his own flesh and blood. With Priest gone rouge, Orelas calls upon the remaining 4 priests (Maggie Q included) in the city and orders them to hunt their brother down and bring him back...dead or alive! *gasp!* Which forces the Priestess (Maggie Q) to either take down a friend and fellow priest or go against a church and God who is all she has known from a little girl. The movie is just plain awesome and fun and legendary! The way they depicted the vampires and their structure is very unique. I hope they make more! So sit back and enjoy!
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Great, under rated sci fi /action hybrid
dworldeater8 November 2016
I saw this at the theater when it was released theatrically and I have been a fan ever since. I actually have grown more fond of this film with repeated viewings. Anyways, Priest is a very enjoyable and slick looking comic book styled action/fantasy movie that is a futuristic sci fi vampire western. Combining elements from Blade, Star Wars and the classic western, Priest is awesome and such delivers big time in the butt kicking department. This is set in a futuristic parallel universe where humans and vampires are engaged in an eternal war and battle for domination. In this retro futuristic society, the church runs the show and as such religion, government and industry are one. The vampires are faster and more agile then humans and humanity's only advantage is the sun. They are blind, insect like monsters that are vicious cgi critters that the priests must fight off with their special vatican style of kung fu. Priests are highly skilled holy warriors, similar to jedi knights, except their power comes not from the force, but the big man upstairs. This is done pretty well and the acting and storytelling are solid. Paul Bettany was excellent as the lead here, his delivery on his character is heavily influenced by Clint Eastwood and he pulls it off quite well without it coming off forced or cheesy. Bettany does well as action hero and is accompanied by Maggie Q, Christopher Plummer and Karl Urban as villain. As a whole I found this quite enjoyable and even though I much favor practical f/x, this is a total cgi fest. Even with that as a factor, the film comes off as a pretty fresh take on the vampire genre with great action and is well executed overall. Even though this is a PG 13 action film, the film is pretty violent considering and is much darker in tone than most PG 13 fare. Although, Priest plays as pretty unique it is not afraid to wear its influences on its sleeve and if you are a fan of westerns, Blade and Star Wars, Priest is the movie for for you and in my opinion Priest is much better than the Star Wars prequels.
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