There are some nifty touches in the big city sequences ... but the vampire-heavy scenes are nearly incomprehensible.
JoBlo's Movie Emporium
I guess you could call it a guilty pleasure.
When you watch Bettany, you can't help wondering why the hell a talented actor is stuck in such an ungodly mess.
On a visceral level, Priest offers enough action and cool bits to probably hold the interest of most 14-year-old boys, but its hodgepodge story and overall derivative nature make it feel like a movie that should have come out back in the '90s.
In the way it unimaginatively regurgitates familiar genre elements in service of preachy piousness, director Scott Charles Stewart's cinema is the equivalent of Christian rock.
A surprisingly effective piece of genre filmmaking, littered with flaws but none so glaring as to sink the film as a whole.
Priest's shortcomings should not really come as a surprise. Previously, Stewart directed the equally lame Legion, which also mixed religion and demonic creatures.
The simplistic directness of its storytelling is refreshing. It's as if the filmmakers realize they're wasting everyone's time, so they at least want to take up as little of it as possible.
The Scorecard Review
They could have called this one 'Something Borrowed' because everything feels lifted from other films.
I liked Priest, and I wouldn't much mind any of these characters returning.
Lately, it feels like there are two things you can count on in a Screen Gems movie. 1) It will suck. 2) It will feature Cam Gigandet. And he will suck.
Staci Layne Wilson
While I hardly hold Priest 3D sacred, I'm not throwing holy water on it and casting it out, either. It's fine, as long as you're fine with adequate horror actioners.
...society is protected by a band of licensed-to-kill clergy who power up with prayer and shoot cross-shaped ninja stars.
The over-optimistic promise of a sequel will hopefully be one premise which remains dead and buried. For ever and ever. Amen.
In an era where monster mythology has become raw material for all sorts of mediocrity, Priest is one of the best examples of a broad-scale vampire blockbuster.
[E]ven though it's easy to point out how derivative it is in a lot of ways, it's also sort of thrilling in how spare and clean and unself-conscious it is about itself...
A melange of apocalyptic western, gothic horror and vampire action movie, Priest won't win any awards for originality. Still, it's streamlined and executed well enough to earn a tip of the cap from those in its target demo.
At best, Priest is a passable time-waster. Mostly, it's like watching an extended Gorillaz video.
Did Paul Bettany know, when he donned the cowl of the albino monk in 'The Da Vinci Code', that he would soon be typecast as Hollywood's go-to guy for God-bothering multiplex action movies?
News of the World
Paul Bettany in a cassock with a cross biroed on to his forehead, potholing with vampires. In 3D.
Daily Mirror [UK]
Drab, eye-rollingly stupid and with noisy effects designed to drown out audience snores, Priest is just about as bad as it gets.
Clawing away under its 3D dinge and slick but desensitising effects, the movie is deadly, even when it's cool - a comic-book adaptation ruthlessly shorn of the word "comic".
This is London
It stars Paul Bettany as a warrior priest in a world in which vampires and humans have warred for centuries.
A dourly humourless, futuristic farrago.