Priest is a post-apocalyptic horror, sci-fi slash fantasy-western, released in 2011 in USA. The movie is set in an alternate world and deals with wars between humans and vampires. It is based on a graphic novel series written by Korean writer, Min-Woo Hyung.
Review by Agota Berta
August 30, 2014
Director: Scott Stewart
screenplay: Cory Goodman
graphic novel: Min-Woo Hyung
Paul Bettany as Priest
Karl Urban as Black Hat
Lily Collins as Lucy Pace
Maggie Q as Priestess
Cam Gigandet as Hicks
Tagline: "The War is Eternal. His Mission is Just the Beginning."
This is Scott Charles Stewart's second film as a director. It's worth mentioning that he was responsible for visual effects in many well-known film: Sin City, Pirates of the Caribbean series, and Iron Man. In his first movie, Legion, Stewart tackles a religion-related topic, and he draws on religion in this movie too. Whereas in Legion he dealt with the rebellious angels, this time around he revived a manga specific, religion-dominated world with vampires on the canvas.
According to the story, a bloody war has been raging between humans and vampires for centuries. Under the leadership of The Church, the humans won a victory over the vampires. It was mostly thanks to a group of elite warriors, the Priests. They are rock solid, hard, brutal and invincible - there are lot of legends about them - and although the society doesn't have much use for them in the New World, their names still inspires fear.
The remaining vampires were placed in reservations, while the humans hauled themselves into giant walled cities. With the war over, the Clergy disbanded the warriors. The Clergy holds a supreme power and any one who turns against them turns against God. As it happens, the last Vampire War veteran, the legendary Priest (Paul Bettany) lives in retirement, in one of the last human cities. But one day a vampire horde slaughter his brother, who lives outside the city walls with his family. They kill the brother's wife and kidnap the Priest's niece, Lucy (Lily Collins).
Our hero - defying the religious ban – breaks a sacred oath, and goes after the vampires. On the mission across the endless desert he will be accompanied by the girl's boyfriend, a real no-man's land restless sheriff, Hicks (Cam Gigandet) and a Priestess (Maggie Q), who is a martial arts expert. They will need her fighting skills in this fearful and dangerous world.
Paul Bettany plays the mysterious but extremely charming man of cloth perfectly. He's the type of person who doesn't live in a dream world. Anyway, I'm biased when it comes to Bettany. He is one of my favorite actors.
Maggie Q is excellent as a helpful heroine who accompanies the main character. She is one of the few of the church who believe in him.
Cam Gigandet is convincing as an anxious and stubborn sheriff who only wants to protect his Lucy. Interestingly enough, he played the villain vampire in the first part of the Twilight saga.
The dialogues are mystical, quiet, and to the point. Before the fights, Bettany sometimes mutters some biblical text, which won my approval.
The film has two strengths. The first is the action sequences, the second is the visual effects. Although there are not many action scenes (maybe because they thought of the young viewers here), but where there are, there is blood flowing from every corner. Well, almost.
The battle choreography is pretty cool, maybe a little bit similar to Matrix. But it isn't a sin to steal from a classic. The visual effects speak for themselves. It's clear that Scott has some expertise in visual effects. I really liked the way the vampires were created. They are sufficiently repulsive.
The costumes are adapted to the plot, which is a real western, except the horror parts. Although I really liked it, it is probably not for children. The story is serious. Nevertheless, it is entirely convincing. The scenes and locations were realistic. Although it was too dark in some moments, I really liked it and recommend it.
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