FILM REVIEW (via Flixist)
Dir: Scott Stewart
Stars: Paul Bettany, Maggie Q, Cam Gigandet, Karl Urban
Running Time: 87 mins
Priest's opening features an animated segment introducing the film's mythology that terrifyingly recalls Jonah Hex, as well as featuring a character called Hicks, whose name sounds a bit like... well, you know. Fortunately, despite those early scares, Scott Stewart's movie proves to be a significant improvement over that abomination, though that's as barbed a compliment as is possible to offer. Despite some potentially interesting ideas peeking out through the rubble, Priest satisfies itself with being a forgettable action flick that is third-rate in all areas of interest.
Paul Bettany again plays a trouble man of the cloth - it's a strange career that gets typecast as an errant god-bothering action man, as is the case here, in The Da Vinci Code, Stewart's previous movie Legion, while also popping up as Charles Darwin in 2009's Creation - who is one of a line of preternaturally gifted fighters recruited by the Church to battle vampires in a post-apocalyptic world of walled cities and barren wastelands. Sound promising? Well, be ready to have that faith tested.
Priest feels like it should be an early year release rather than propping up the summer blockbusters. It's not offensively awful, just never seems to have any ambitions beyond mediocrity, which it achieves intermittently. Any interesting ideas are soon swept under the carpet in favour of ticking off the expected boxes for this kind of low-grade actioner. It's visually passable, tinted in the requisite blues and oranges, with 3D that isn't the worst conversion I've seen. The cast are OK, the score might have been assembled from an album of 100 Generic Soundtracks, and the action is no more surprising. Though there's predictably a set-up for a sequel, this would only be excusable if it is allowed to be called Priest 2: Ecumenical Boogaloo. In a summer that should yield far more polished and exciting action blockbusters, this doesn't deserve a prayer.
Read the full review here
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