There are some actors who are forced upon regular frequenters of the cinema and no matter how hard you try you cannot escape their constant presence. In contrast there are actors at the other end of the scale - those who don’t appear in many films per year but exert enough class to warrant excitement whenever they do give us a weekend off from the latest blah starring blah blah blah.
In case it wasn’t clear from the above - today I went to see Paul Bettany in Priest.
PLOT: The age old battle between humans and vampires is still going strong in the dusty future. Due to what I presume were budgetary issues within the Roman Catholic Church they embark on a major internal restructure in which Priests are reassigned and retrained as warriors with slight superhuman powers. There is no mention of the army. The head priest aptly named Priest (Paul Bettany) fought gallantly in the war with the only black spot being the apparent death of Black Hat (Karl Urban). Priest starts using the word “Familiar” to describe human vampire supporters and this reminds me of Blade 2 which in turn reminds me of Norman Reedus and once again thoughts wander onto crossbows and general badassery (not that I am obsessed or anything).
Black Hat kidnaps Priest’s daughter and teams up with sidekick Hicks and Female Unrequited Love Priest (Maggie Q) in order to stop the vampires which are headed by the 2nd most attractive Familiar in existence. There are hints that the Catholic church may or may not be corrupt. Paul Bettany has the most American accent in American History. There are no sinister ministers here but knife wielding warriors. Karl Urban has about three lines but conveys emotion through moving his black hat in a sexy manner.
Priests 1 vs. Vampires 0 vs. Catholic Church -1 END PLOT
Humans vs. Vampires isn’t an original concept but there are times when execution trumps originality. This wasn’t one of them.
Priest is very much run of the mill - the only original aspect of the plot is that it is completely devoid of originality.
The cinema was only showing Priest in 3D so we had no choice but to fork out the extra £2.00 for our viewing pleasure. The 3D experience allowed us to watch the Captain America trailer in 3D and to see some falling ash in Priest. If you have the choice 2D is the way to go although the clever choice would be to skip this film altogether.
Other than the non existent 3D Priest looked exactly how you would expect a post apocalyptic film to look - dusty, old fashioned and futuristic. The woman wear old fashioned dresses, denim no longer exists, baddies ride dirt bikes and goodies ride pimped up nitro fuelled super future bikes.
Black Hat is the only human vampire as the rest are dodgy CGI which made the vampires in I Am Legend seem lifelike. His name was never mentioned in the film so I had to go to IMDB in order to figure this out - first time I have ever researched a blog.
Everything about Priest looked cheap, basic and outdated. The effects were basic - too basic for the cinema
Priest is the second film Paul Bettany and the director Scott Stewart have made together and I hope it is the last. Bettany is too good an actor to be slumming it with an inferior filmmaker - the sooner he gets over the notion that he is an action star the better.
Bettany was fine as Priest although the American accent didn’t work as it sounded completely unnatural and he gave off the impression that he was concentrating a little too hard on his lines.
Karl Urban is becoming an actor to watch out for and in Priest he was very good with the little he was given to do. He had the act of slowly lifting his hat wearing head in a sinister fashion down to a fine art. He does look good in cowboyish clothing and with that stubble he may make a very good John Marston if they ever made a Red Dead Redemption film.
The rest of the cast headed by Maggie Q were all okay. The film was so short no one really got a moment to shine.
There are some films which start great and fade towards the end, there are some films which are okay but waste so much potential and there are some films which are just bad.
Priest is in the final category - it was a way to kill 88mins but this is a bad film. Its only saving grace is that the CGI vampires didn’t sparkle. Priest gets a 4/10.
If Guillermo del Toro made Priest is would have been awesome although it may have been another Blade 2 which was the weakest spot in a career of greatness although it did have Norman Reedus..........…….crossbows.................distraction.........