Friday, September 2, 2011

Priest - DVD Review


Starring Paul Bettany, Karl Urban, Maggie Q, Cam Gigandet, Lily Collins, Stephen Moyer, Christopher Plummer, Brad Dourif, Alan Dale and Madchen Amick. Directed by Scott Stewart.

I like dystopian adventures as much as the next guy. I also recognize this mishmash is far from a good movie, but it's not without its guilty pleasures.

Take, for instance, Karl Urban. In a world where vampires are eyeless sabretooth goblins, he becomes the first human vampire, and the man likes his powers. He also gets to do a few slow glances back over his shoulder, from under the brim of his hat. That is a man who knows he's playing a mean s.o.b. and having fun with it.

Like most movies, it kept reminding me of other movies. Here's a little Judge Dredd, there's a little Matrix, throw in some Doom, a pinch of Blade Runner, a whiff of The Searchers, a hint of Wild Wild West, a dash of any steampunk flick that had Jack Palance, and voila, we get Priest.

This is a world where the church controls the humans, and naturally the church is led by a council of robe-wearing smirkers who sit in a semi-circle and just wait for people to enter their hall and genuflect. The High Monsignor of Smirk is Christopher Plummer, who can only go the way of ham with his cliched dialogue. The church believes the vampire menace has been eradicated, but when one Priest's niece gets kidnapped by them, that Priest (Paul Bettany) must defy the church to save her.

I think this puts the wooden stake in the undead heart of the idea that Bettany can be an action star. The movie's mercifully short at 80 minutes, so we don't get bogged down by too much plot; it's more of a series of action sequences. And yet, it leaves things open for a sequel. Based on its box office, that notion may have its last rites read.

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