In the dystopian future ruled by the Church most of the world is a wasteland after centuries of battle between humans and vampires. The film opens with the last of these battles as the Church’s best warriors, known simply as Priests, set out to destroy the last hive of vampires. They are victorious, but only at the cost of losing one of their own (Karl Urban).
The film skips an undetermined amount of time into the future when the Priests have been disbanded and all vampires are believed dead. An attack on his brother’s home on the edge of the wasteland sends one Priest (Paul Bettany), against the Church’s orders on a hunt to rescue his niece (Lily Collins).
Let’s get this straight, I’d call Priest as dumb as a bag of rocks if I didn’t want to insult rocks. The various elements of the plot that get our hero out into the field (including the Church’s reaction to a vampire attack) with a small time sheriff (Cam Gigandet) and an old friend (Maggie Q) against orders make as little sense as possible. Also troubling is the look of the vampires themselves, poor eyeless CGI creations which have almost as little personality as the Church’s governing council.
That’s not to say Priest is a total waste of time. The action sequences are well done, and Urban works far better as a bad guy than the vampires themselves. And the weapons of the Priests (which are sadly never explained) are at least more visually interesting than stakes and holy water. Paul Bettany has a knack for chosing questionable roles, and he’s definitely slumming here, but he manages to hold up him part of the film with a little dignity.
The Blu-ray includes commentary from director Scott Charles Stewart, writer Cory Goodman, Bettany and Maggie Q, a picture-in-picture feature, deleted and extended scenes, and featurettes on the world and weapons of the film.
Priest isn’t really a good film, but for those who enjoy the action/horror genre (and can look past the sheer ridiculousness of the plot) you might have an okay time. The film is loosely based off a Korean comic Hyung Min-woo which was in turn inspired by a video game. You’d have to have enjoyed the film far more than I did to search out the comic, but if you do let me know if it works better than the movie.