Priest (2011) Recap

Jamie

Bless me father for they have sinned. It’s been eleven years since they confessed. Here are their sins:

  1. Retroactively stealing the BMTverse from Patrick and I. The entire setting of this film is some alternate universe Earth where megacities are surrounded by a dangerous Waste/Scorch and supercops/priests go around blasting baddies with laser guns. Uh, excuse me? That is quite literally the stereotype that is the BMTverse. We’d like our royalties, father.
  2. Cam Gigantic… I love him… and by love I mean that I love to see him in films because they are guaranteed to be BMT. And he delivers, father, oh boy does he deliver. It’s not like anyone else is throwing the heat here except “Cam Gigantic Forever”. I’m ready to get him into the BMT version of the Expendables right now… no, I didn’t mean the Avengers, why?
  3. They dare (dare!) to set themselves up for a sequel. I guess it wasn’t unfounded. This was the age of Underworld and Resident Evil. Probably felt like we would be lamenting the gritty reboot of the Priest franchise in 2022 after six films that ended with the evil robot Priest turning against his makers and teaming up with the Priest clone army to destroy the werewolf/vampire/frankenstein’s monster horde that has surrounded Light City or some shit. Truly, some weird franchises came out of that time.

They are (probably) sorry for their sins. Amen.

Well that was fun. Kinda flipped the review with the game. Overall, the film seems pretty small. It runs from an opening exposition explaining the origin of our vampire world right into the kidnapping of Bettany’s daughter (what a twist!) and the rest of the film follows linearly from there to the climactic battle scene. To sum it up: the priests are supercops (not to be confused with time cops) born to fight vampires. A priest-vampire hybrid returns and kidnaps Priest’s (secret, shhh) daughter. That got him and Cam Gigantic all riled up. So why did the hybrid kidnap her? Uh, I guess to lure Priest into a battle so he could try to turn him to the dark side. Mostly cause I think he knew he sucked and needed more priests on his side so he didn’t get totally owned like the loser he was. But also, he was a loser and no one liked him so the Priest just owned him instead. The end. In retrospect not much of a plan. I would have gone with a sneak attack rather than the “alert everyone to your plan and hope to convince people to also become gross monsters” attack.

It very much feels like they tried to take a graphic novel to the big screen and ultimately that both worked and didn’t work. Like credit where credit is due, I think there are some fun visuals in the film. The plethora of Renfields are interesting, it’s bookended with some cool cartoons, and it ends with a train battle. But everything still felt a little flat. Patrick?

Patrick

‘Ello everyone! Priest? More like Least, amirite?! I think I am!! Remember when Paul Bettany was an action star? I guess he still is, he’s Vision in the Marvel films, but still, there was a brief moment when a slight British man somehow led multiple action films. Let’s go!

  • Paul Bettany growls his way through this film a la Christain Bale in Batman and it just doesn’t work. I think maybe because Bettany neglected to … you know, look strong. He does attempt to lose his accent (poorly), so he was going for it.
  • I guess that begs the question though: why did we watch this prior to Legion? Shouldn’t we have gone in true Paul Bettany filmography order for the PBEU (Paul Bettany Extended Universe)? I can’t wait to find out how Priest connects to The Secret Life of Bees.
  • If you can’t tell by the notes so far the only reason this film exists at all seems to be as a Paul Bettany vehicle … it is hard to grasp that in 2011 that was something that was released to theaters. That new hot Paul Bettany vampire vehicle.
  • Karl Urban as the bad guy? Marissa’s grandpa from The O.C.? Christopher Plummer getting paid in the shade? CAM GIGANTIC?! How can Gigantic even look Marissa’s grandpa in the eyes, he (SPOILERS) killed Marissa in the show!
  • The creature designs were kind of cool I suppose, if you were going for a unique moleman kind of idea for vampires.
  • But then the setting is bizarre. Vampires have been around for a long time, but we are positing it is some unknown point in the future (I think, they have like robot bikes and stuff so it must be, right?). It is all based on a Korean manhwa series, so I suppose you just have to roll with the punches.
  • If I was more well schooled in Westerns I would be able to do a better job of seeing where the film (and probably comic) copied from more famous works. It seems pretty blatant, I think it is arguably an adaptation of The Searchers in some ways.
  • Really I can only give this an award for Worst Twist (How?) for the inevitable reveal that Priest is, in fact, Lucy’s father and not her uncle as we’ve been led to believe. Definitely a BMT.

The film in its own weird way reminds me a lot of Jonah Hex. An odd borderline steampunk Western with a gruff anti-hero. All it needed was Lance Reddick crowing “Happy Fourth of Juuuuuly” to me and this would have actually been a four star masterpiece.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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