Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Priest [2011]

Director: Scott Stewart
Cast: Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet, Karl Urban, Maggie Q, Christopher Plummer, Lily Collins
Genre: Fantasy/Horror/Action
Rating: Teen (horrific images)
Comment: "It rests a little too heavily on the cool factor, because there really isn't much else to love about the movie..."

In an alternate universe where man and vampires wage war against each other, there was no clear winner until the church began training a special caste of warriors simply called Priests. With this new weapon, the vampires were soundly beaten and kept imprisoned underground. Now that they have fulfilled their raison d'etre, the priests were left without purpose or direction hence the church's decision to disband them. The story then shifts its focus on one particular Priest (Paul Bettany) whose niece gets kidnapped, forcing him to abandon the church law and track down the vampires who took her.

What to Expect
1. The cool factor
2. Paul Bettany's trademark icy-coolness
3. Interesting spin on the Christian lore
4. Plain ol' popcorn movie

What NOT to Expect
1. Anything out of the ordinary
Wait for the DVD perhaps?
Hey, I've said it before, I saw from weeks away that this was going to be just a decent popcorn movie and therefore, I wasn't disappointed. You know, had it not been for Paul Bettany, I might have liked this movie a lot less. This is his second time playing a priest, and he's still as cool as ever! Not exactly a man-crush of mine, but I had always thought that the dude has that Mads Mikkelsen-like coolness vibe to him.

This is one of those movies where the trailer is literally the highlights of the movie. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but you go ahead and interpret it in any way you see fit. All I'm going to say is, if you're looking for an action-packed thrill ride, you might want to look elsewhere.

But if you feel inclined to purchase a ticket anyway, I'm guessing you're drawn to this movie the same way as I was. The whole thing with vampire wars is as played out as it can be, but it's really the twist they put into the church that made this one stand out. At the risk of sounding offensive, I had long came to view the Christian history as something like a mythology. So when I saw that it was all treated like something off a Greek mythology, I can't help but feel like there's more to this than a simplistic and brainless movie made by the likes of Paul W.S. Anderson.

If it's not the Christian thingy, then I guess you belong to this second group of potential fans; video gamers. Video games like Devil May Cry crossed my mind several times during the entire time I watched the movie, not so much because it was heavy on the acrobatic action, but they both possess that "cool factor". It certainly helped that they had Paul Bettany's charisma going for them. Place him on a spectacular-looking bike, give him some cool choreography and you'll get something to make up for the somewhat not-so-fulfilling story.

Should you go see it?
What else can I say about this movie? It's a straightforward supernatural action movie with a couple of superficial human elements, and shallow room for debate about religion (particularly Christianity) topped off with some cool visuals. But then again, you could say the same thing about tons of other movies. So go ahead and wait for the DVD (read: download) or see it on the big screen. No rush.

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