I was curious about this film and I really wanted to like it - but it proved to be simply impossible... Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.
This film was based on a very original South Korean comic and therefore it was clear, that visual aspects would have to be the main asset - but it never means that one has to sacrify completly the scenario and especially the dialogs... Here, very sadly, it was exactly what happened and therefore if visually this film has many merits, the scenario, the dialogs and character development are beneath everything...
So, to get the story out of the way. In an alternate reality humans and vampires always shared the world and of course always were at war, as the latter considered the former mostly as source of food and occasionally also slave material. In this reality vampires are not undead monsters - they are living creatures, not exactly humanoid (they rather look like bears without fur and with gray skin) and they are devoided of eyes but clearly have some other senses unknown to man. They live in hives like termites and possess a collective mind, with the secretive Queens of the Hive being the supreme authority (albeit few people ever saw one and lived to describe it).
The vampires from this film are killed by sunlight, feed on human blood and with their bites are able to enslave people (those thralls are called Familiars) - but otherwise they are quite obviously very different from "classical" vampires. They do not fear crosses or holy water - on another hand they are vulnerable to regular weapons, but it is difficult to hit them because of their speed and they are also so powerfully build, that it takes a lot of effort to efficiently destroy one...
The war of humanity against the vampires was very long and it devastated the whole panet. It was ultimately won by humanity after the appearance of elite warriors, called Priests. Defeated, the vampires had to sue for peace and were allowed to keep a part of wastelands as their reservation. Humanity mostly retreated to the cities, under the totalitarian control of the Church (it is supposedly a Christian Church, but not necessarily exactly the Catholic Church as we know it). Some free humans survive also in small towns in the wastelands. Priests are no more really needed, therefore they do other work for the Church - but most of them are not very happy with their existence.
All of this is explained in the short and fast introduction and then the story begins, with a Priest (Paul Bethany) receiving alarming news about a possible vampire raid (the first in many, many years) against a human settlement - the one in which his brother Owen lives with his wife Shannon and daughter Lucy (Lily Collins). The news are brought by sheriff Hicks (Cam Gigandet) who was courting Lucy already for some time... Against the orders of Monsignor Orelas (Christopher Plummer), local leader of the Church, the Priest joins Hicks and leaves the city to look into this whole business and especially check if the raid was really the work of vampires... Later, a Priestess (Maggie Q) will also join the team... I will not say more about the story.
This could have been a reasonably good fantasy adventure film, but sadly it is not the case. As I already said, the scenario is poor, dialogs are lame, there is no humour and honestly, the story mostly doesn't make any sense, as people keep doing stupid things for no reason at all. The most illogical decisions are those taken by Monsignor Orelas who obviously is one of the bad guys, but I will be darned if I understand why...
The only thing that is honest in this film is the casting. Paul Bettany does all right as a taciturn holy warrior and it was a nice joke to make Cam Gigandet play a vampire hunter considering that he is for the moment mostly known as James the Sadistic Vampire from "Twilight" - but it is Maggie Q who does the best job in this film as Priestess, hopelessly (and so obviously) in love with the Priest...))) Christopher Plummer is of course a great actor and it is a pleasure to watch him, even if the actions of his character do not make the slightest sense. Lily Collins is a cute damsel in distress, Karl Urban plays the mysterious Black Hat, a guy who may or may not be in cahoots with the vampires and Brad Dourif makes a cameo as... well, the kind of guy who is usually played by Brad Dourif...))) But even this good casting can not save this film.
Bottom line, notwithstanding the presence of good actors, this film is a disappointment and I am glad that I rented rather than bought it. Honestly - you can skip this one without losing much.
on October 7, 2014
I was really pulling for this to be good...... Hoping it would get better.... It didn't, it got worse... The concept was interesting, the choice of actors was perfect. the setting was .... western.. meets cyberpunk... weird, but I was ok with it.. the full story though, falls flat on its face and when the movie ends you will be thinking, did I really just watch that just because of the cool trailer?.. yes I did,, where was THAT movie at, cuz THAT one looked really good.
I would probably watch it again.. lol..
on May 3, 2015
Priest, vampires, a missing girl - we've seen these plot points before. But it's difficult to determine motivation or any reason for the lead actors to do what they're doing. Watch The Exorcist instead, or any of the movies where Anthony Hopkins is a priest and there's a demon involved.
on September 11, 2015
This movie seemed pretty hollow compared to what could have been. Characters are introduced rather quickly and while there is some attempt to give them some depth it fails to make them less then Matrix warriors with crosses and a cowboy sidekick. Urban is wasted here and mostly spends his time posing a bit with dramatic villain lighting. But, barely speaks beyond taunts in fight scenes. Has some interesting ideas but really can't quite build any tension and the scenes feel loosely linked together. The vampire reservations were a bit intriguing with the human familiars and underground vaults, but just a rest stop in a movie that speeds by to a conclusion you expect and doesn't feel very rewarding.
on July 10, 2014
visually ok; however, with respect to writing (dialogue, plotline), the needle just keeps slipping out of the groove. entire thing is off key, that attempts panorama, and never exceeds keyhole width. as, the epic scoring is ridiculously antithetical to a film to which a harmonica would be better suited.
on September 24, 2011
Set in a post-apocalyptic alternate world, "Priest" (2011) chronicles the battle of a Priest (Paul Bettany), former member of the warrior group created by the Church during the long, devastating war with the vampires. As the war is over and the threat of the vampires is gone (that's what the Church says), the warrior group is disbanded. But when a young girl named Lucy (Lily Collins) is kidnapped, Paul Bettany's Priest starts his own investigation, disobeying the direct order from the Church to stay out of the case.
The story is not bad if not very original. The production design is a curious blend of genres. A "Blade Runner"-like futuristic city and Western-movie towns coexist in "Priest." Some viewers might dislike the film's "anything-goes" style, especially when they are looking for a "vampire" movie. (Actually the vampires in "Priest" look more like some subterranean creatures.) Directed by Scott Stewart ("Legion" starring Paul Bettany), "Priest" is an assortment of various styles. It is not a bad thing. he problem is, "Priest" doesn't have a style of its own.
Except one marginally interesting battle sequence at the end of the film, action scenes in "Priest" are dull and derivative. Not enough attention is given to the details of each action sequence that looks perfunctory. The story jumps from one cursory action set-piece to another without letting us know the characters or the alternate universe they live in. With little-to-none chemistry between characters, we have no reason to believe in the subplot about the romantic interest of Priest.
"Priest" is based on a Korean graphic novel by Hyung Min-woo. I have not read the book, but I believe the source material is much different from the weak adaptation.
on May 8, 2014
God.......Let's stop all the movies about vampires and zombies already!!!!
I saw a quick preview of this movie before the start of another DVD I had just bought, and I thought I'd like it because of the futuristic aspect. I gave it two stars because it did have some futuristic features that were interesting, but not enough to carry this movie.
It's just another zombie gory movie with little character development.
Hey "Hollywood".......special effects DO NOT make up for a lack of writing and acting.