Starring Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet and Maggie Q
Directed by Scott Charles Stewart
A call rings through the air like the song of the siren on every new release Tuesday drawing the film fan to local video stores here in our fair city of Toronto. Out today on DVD and Blu-Ray is the first of the summer action blockbusters to make the transition to home video. Get ready as the war between man & vampire rages on in a post-apocalyptic world, it’s time for Priest.
Priest is a western tinged thriller, set in an alternate post apocalyptic world, one ravaged by centuries of war between man and the vampire horde. The story revolves around a legendary Warrior Priest (Bettany) from the last Vampire War who now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human masses that live in walled-in dystopian cities ruled by the Church. However in the wastelands, when his niece is abducted by a rogue vampire pack, Priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out on an obsessive quest to find her before they turn her into one of them. He is joined on his crusade by his niece’s boyfriend (Gigandet), a trigger-fingered young wasteland sheriff, and a former Warrior Priestess (Maggie Q) who possesses otherworldly fighting skills as they attempt to stop a diabolical plot by the vampires and a former priest (Karl Urban) to destroy what remains of humanity.
After pulling in a modest profit at the international box office, Priest is an acceptable genre film. A sure fire way to make sure your specific genre film works is to borrow from past films. With references and visual imagery pulled from films like The Searchers, Blade Runner, The Road Warrior and The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, director Scott Stewart certainly had a rich history available to mine. With his previous deep background in the field of special effects, the viewer is guaranteed a great looking thrill ride and with a scant 10 minutes or so dedicated on setting up the story, we got non-stop action from then on out. Originally based on a graphic novel, the story was secondary to the action, and Scott Stewart does an acceptable job getting the story from point A to B and so on with very little effort.
Paul Bettany does his best Clint Eastwood impersonation as Priest, very obviously channeling “The Man With No Name” from the famous spaghetti western trilogy and it works. Religion isn’t focused on at all and is simply a plot point they could have been called bounty hunters or gunmen and it would have been the same thing. Bettany a classical trained British actor is actually pretty decent as the quite badass vampire killer and Karl Urban got to ham it up somewhat in the villain role but ultimately the actors were secondary to the scenery. Maggie Q, Cam Gigandet, Stephen Moyer and Christopher Plummer rounded out the supporting cast but were ultimately interchangeable and forgettable as the story was all about Priest.
The DVD includes commentary tracks with the cast and filmmakers, deleted and extended scenes and behind the scenes featurettes.
Priest is an entertaining genre picture, especially if you are partial to vampires and westerns that I’m willing to bet will have a sequel (although probably straight to DVD) and is worth your rental dollars if you’re in the mood for some action.
3 out of 5 stars.
Priest is available today on DVD and Blu-Ray at video stores across Toronto, click here for more details.
Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter as the Pop Culture Poet for all the latest and greatest news and reviews from the world of entertainment.