'Priest' Review By the MovieGhost

The church teaches us that the eyes are the windows to the soul. And that since vampire evolved without eyes, it is a soulless creature, to be eradicated.
  • OVERALL
    3.5
    GREAT
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Visuals
I can still remember when I first saw the concept art of Paul Bettany as Priest. A close-up on his face, with a very prominent tattoo of a cross placed between the eyebrows and running down almost the entire length of his nose. A friend of mine had looked it up, for the singular reason of him being a Bettany fan I would suppose, but I hadn't really seen Bettany in very much. In fact the only other movie I've actually seen him act in was 2001's "A Knight's Tale". And even then he played second fiddle to the late Heath Ledger's William Thatcher.

Keeping those things in mind, I was mildly interested in "Priest". It wasn't and still isn't anything more than something to watch on a lazy afternoon or evening.

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Set in an alternate world, one where mankind has waged a near eternal war against the vampire race, human kind was very nearly overrun until the arrival of the Priests. A group of warriors trained by the church, the Priests turned back the vampire tide and saved what remained of humanity who have since walled themselves away in massive dystopian cities. Once the war was over, the Priests were disbanded and integrated back into a society that no longer needed them.

After an attack at his brother's barren farmhouse, resulting in his niece Lucy (Lily Collins) being taken, Priest (Paul Bettany) breaks his vow to go and rescue her. Joined by the local sheriff (Cam Gigandet), who is also Lucy's boyfriend, and comrade Priestess (Maggie Q), the trio set off to find Priest's niece and confront whatever had taken her.

As I said above, "Priest" wasn't something I had heard much about or looked forward to seeing all that much. Initially all it seemed was yet another movie about vampires, which at the time was the last thing I wanted to see. The first half of "Breaking Dawn" was set to release later that year and I have never been any sort of fan of that series. Frankly that series as a whole has cast a very large shadow on vampires in general. I remember watching a video recently where the person said, "Vampires and werewolves used to me something you would be afraid of. When you saw one, you didn't run up to it, give it a hug and act like a depressed teenage girl begging for attention. You ran for your freaking life."

Once I had seen and read more about what the movie would be about, and after I had found out that Karl Urban would have a role, I was slightly more interested in seeing "Priest". In this movie the vampires were presented how they should be; violent, fearsome, and disgusting monsters. Not ones who would climb into your room, watch you while you sleep and sparkle like freaking diamonds in the sunlight. Before I get ahead of myself, this isn't a Twilight bashing. As much as I would enjoy doing that in a review for Twilight, I wouldn't ever put myself through such prolonged torture.

For what it's worth, I thought Mr. Bettany did a serviceable job in his role as the rogue Priest. Whenever he was on-screen, which was most of the time obviously, I never became bored or disinterested in what was happening. Some parts were less than believable than others, most noticeably during the climax of the movie when the trio is trying to catch up with Karl Urban's Black Hat, it shows their motorcycles going upwards of 190 miles an hour just to catch up with his massive train. So, when Black Hat throws the sheriff through one of the train's boarded windows and the sheriff gets up without so much as a scratch, that took me out of the experience.

It would've made more sense if they had Gigandet's sheriff display some Priest-like abilities in that moment, which would've given more credence in Priest's later line of, "You would've made a good priest." If all it takes to make a good priest is shoot some holes in the ceiling of a train to let in the sunlight, why haven't I been contacted yet? And if Black Hat as bad and powerful a villain as he claimed to be, shouldn't he have beaten the living daylights out of Priest in their final fight?

Inconsistencies like those aside, and I should say there weren't very many, "Priest" was decently enjoyable overall. There were times where the movie's score didn't exactly fit with what was happening on-screen, but it wasn't horrible. I can't say I would go out and buy a copy of it on DVD, especially when I can stream it for free online or use my money to go and see better films. Still, if you're looking for an enjoyable movie to pass the time with, and if there isn't anything else on television, go ahead and give "Priest" a look.

This was a review by tMG. Thank you for reading.

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Comments (15)

  1. jasdjqs

    I saw this movie, it was really good

    2 years agoby @jasdjqsFlag

  2. the MovieGhost

    @crypt I wouldn't say you're missing much, especially since it barely stuck with the original source material. Thank you though!

    2 years agoby @the-movieghostFlag

  3. The Cryptkeeper: Resurrected

    @the-movieghost Good review. I had not heard a whole lot about this movie, but the trailers didn't really grab my attention back when it came out. However, since it doesn't seem to be an outstanding film, I'll pass. Haha

    2 years agoby @cryptFlag

  4. the MovieGhost

    @skywise Hm. Well if I can find it somewhere, reasonably priced if need be, then I will definitely give it a look. Right after I finish Children of Hurin and A Feast for Crows...

    2 years agoby @the-movieghostFlag

  5. skywise

    @the-movieghost It really is very good. It has an unusual art style and takes place during the crusades, modern times and the wild west. There are a LOT of well rounded characters and a very deep story.

    2 years agoby @skywiseFlag

  6. Sean

    @the-movieghost You're welcome!

    2 years agoby @themoviefanaticFlag

  7. the MovieGhost

    @skywise Much appreciated 'Wise! I honestly didn't know it was based on a graphic novel, but with the intro-ish scene stylized after a GN I suspected it might've been. Was it that good?

    @themoviefanatic Thank you!

    2 years agoby @the-movieghostFlag

  8. skywise

    @the-movieghost As a fan of the graphic novel I was fairly excited when I heard they were making a movie. Unfortunatly the movie has nothing to do with the GN. I agree, it was a servicable film but when dealind with such great source material it might have been a good idea to stick with it.

    Great review though

    2 years agoby @skywiseFlag

  9. the MovieGhost

    @thedude1 Thanks very much!

    2 years agoby @the-movieghostFlag

  10. TheDude1

    Nice review. I also enjoy the movie somewhat as well.

    2 years agoby @thedude1Flag

  11. Sean

    @the-movieghost Very good review! I have yet to check out this movie. When it starts getting shown on tv in a few years and i get the chance to watch it, if i like it when i get the chance to watch it then i might get it on Blu-ray. I've never really been a big fan of Paul Bettany, but this movie looks like it might change my mind about him if i check it out. I've seen other movies he's starred in but, i can't remember which ones they are at the moment.

    2 years agoby @themoviefanaticFlag

  12. John M

    @the-movieghost: No about Urban I wasn't really talking about your review I was talking about the film. As I said in my Dredd review I like the actor and he does a decent job as the villain in this film, but even he couldn't save this film.

    2 years agoby @john-mFlag

  13. the MovieGhost

    @john-m Oh no, I didn't mean to imply that Urban "saved" the movie, which I can see if I did by mistake. I wanted to see this only because he was in it.

    2 years agoby @the-movieghostFlag

  14. John M

    @the-movieghost: I've had that problem as well with the tags.

    It's your opinion, but you liked this film. It was jumping and heavily edited and a poor imitation of the great Korean Graphic Novel series. Even Karl Urban couldn't save the film.

    2 years agoby @john-mFlag