Priest, released in May of 2011, is a fast-paced, if short, action-packed kill-all-vampires movie. Though these vampires are a bit different from what you might have seen before – rather hideous night creatures with no eyes. Directed by Scott Charles Stewart and starring Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet, Karl Urban and Maggie Q, Priest is based on a graphic novel series with the same name by Min-Woo Hyung.
In the alternate dystopian world of Priest, people inhabit cities ruled by the Church. For centuries, a war with vampires ravaged this world until the Church created and trained a special order of Priests. Priests won the war for humans due to their ability to kill vampires. The remaining vampires were put in reservations and the Priests were left with no purpose. At present, a Priest (Paul Bettany) is approached by Hicks (Cam Gigandet), the sheriff of a town where a vampire attack occurred, and it turns out that Priest’s niece Lucy was kidnapped in the process. Defying the Church that refuses to acknowledge the new vampire menace, Priest agrees to help Hicks. However, at the end of their journey, Priest encounters something far more dangerous than an ordinary vampire.
Priest doesn’t offer a complicated plot or multiple layers of meaning, but it is a quality, enjoyable entertainment that moves along swiftly. An animated sequence in the beginning of the movie shows the history of war between humans and vampires, and how the Priests changed the course of this war. Personally, I liked that it was done in such manner, it added to the movie visually and paid tribute to the source material. The action scenes are fairly interesting, culminating at the end with quite an impressive sequence involving a train. The scenes involving motorcycles are definitely among the movie’s highlights, their design is interesting and the speed is dizzying. I also really enjoyed the mix of a Western feel with an often futuristic look, with the minimalistic picture leaning mostly toward gray colors.
Paul Bettany’s Priest definitely makes the movie even more worthwhile. He looks quite convincing and holds your attention. Maggie Q, who plays a Priestess, adds a lot as a supporting character, and there is one especially poignant scene in the town ravaged by vampires, between her character and Bettany’s Priest. Christopher Plummer as a member of the Clergy is also a great addition to the cast.
So, if you are in the mood for a decent vampire action, check Priest out.