Director: Scott Stewart
Cast: Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q
Synopsis: A priest disobeys church law to track down the vampires who kidnapped his niece.
Priest is the movie adaptation of some popular graphic novel (which are comic books for grown-ups who would otherwise feel foolish buying comic books at their time of life). It isn’t quite as bad as you might expect it to be. That’s not to say it’s particularly good, because its not. The story creates this future in which the world is ruled by a kind of neo-Catholic religious order who have successfully colonised a breed of beast-like vampires, but then goes nowhere with it. Instead, the film chooses to be a semi-remake of The Searchers for much of the time before suddenly becoming distracted by Spaghetti Western sensibilities.
Paul Bettany (Blood) plays the titular priest, a bit of a maverick who defies his boss – Christopher Plummer (Up, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), not God – to venture into the wasteland to find his niece after his brother and wife are killed by the aforementioned vampires, who are planning to recommence their war on humans. It turns out that the vampires are now led by one of his former comrades – whom he failed to save from a vampire attack – who was subsequently turned into a human-vampire hybrid by a vampire queen, which enables him to move around in daylight but also has him believing he’s The Man With No Name.
There’s plenty of action, lots of explosions and a few hundred vampires – all CGI, of course – and the film has a stylish look about it. But it lacks originality and fails to develop its characters beyond their comic book – sorry, Graphic Novel – roots. Its short running time serves as both a warning that it contains little of any value and as a relief that it will all soon be over.
(Reviewed 21st February 2012)