Paul Bettany is at it again, trying to be a Goody Two-Shoes by saving humanity from eternal damnation in Priest, on DVD and Blu-Ray this week. If Priest looks a lot like 2009's Legion, which starred Bettany as an angel trying to save humanity from eternal damnation, you're not alone. And like Legion, Priest falls short of its intended goal, whatever it was, seemingly satisfied with being mediocre.
In Priest, vampires and humans have waged wars for centuries, ravaging the world and turning it into a desolate dust bowl. The vampires seemingly vanquished, humans still live under the watchful but corrupt eye of the church, their former protectors - priests - all but forgotten. When a teenage girl is kidnapped by a murderous faction of vampires, however, her uncle - a priest - sets out to save her.
Oh, and to save humanity from eternal damnation.
Priest is exactly what you'd expect from a movie about futuristic vampire-hunting priests. It is what it is, a B-grade or even C-grade action thriller with so-so special effects, a rudimentary plot and bland acting. It comes and goes without a single memorable moment.
Why Bettany continues to take on these movies is beyond me. It's also beyond me why studios think he can be an action hero. Bettany is a good actor, but I associate him with more dramatic roles, a la Master and Commander and A Beautiful Mind. He needs to stay away from action movies.
For what it's worth, Priest could have been worse. It isn't too cheesy and there's enough action to keep it from being boring. The casting of Maggie Q is inspired, if solely for aesthetic purposes. There are definitely worse ways to waste two hours.
Then again, there are definitely better ways to spend, let alone waste, two hours. At least Daybreakers, last year's futuristic vampire action-thriller, had a clever premise; Priest is instantly forgettable.
The DVD comes with just a few bonus features, including the standard deleted and extended scenes, a making-of featurette, a video that looks at the weapons and vehicles in Priest (does anyone care?) and an audio commentary with the cast and crew.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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