First off, I have to apologize. I begged Lynch to let me write this review because a friend of mine out west got to see some sneak peaks of this movie before it hit the theaters, and assured me it was gonna be good. This is not the kind of man who’s opinion I take lightly when it comes to cinema. But I waited so long to actually see it, and then even longer to write about it, that now I have to tag this entry as a Netflix review. Because that’s the only way you’re gonna be able to see it at this point. And even then, it’s not worth your time.
This movie was based on the similarly titled manga novel “Priest” in the same way that my last bowel movement was based on a meal I had yesterday. They’ve changed the characters, setting, plot, tone, and mythology. Thanks to my friend who shall remain nameless…
… I went into the theater prepared for a fantastical and exhilarating action adventure. Perhaps unfair expectations on my part, but the movie would have STILL disappointed had I been expecting the projector to break down within the first 30 minutes. The most exciting part of the film was the crudely animated but wonderfully drawn intro about the millenia long war between humans and vampires. Interesting premise, I thought. The humans, fighting a losing battle, surrender themselves over to the church who alone have the super soldier priests that finally tip the scales in humanity’s favor. Cool. So the church saves mankind, but in return become an oppressive totalitarian regime in the post apocalyptic wasteland of a future. Interesting. And then in the face of an obvious vampiric resurgence, the church denies the existence of a problem, despite the fact that this would actually help strengthen their standing as mankind’s last hope. Wait, what?
Paul Bettany is one of the retired priests who have all been deemed worthless once the war is over. Because if there’s one thing that’s worthless in any society, it’s someone who saved your ass with cunning, super strength, unparalleled reflexes, divine protection, and the ability to metaphysically rape Newton and his stupid laws of gravity.
When Paul Bettany’s estranged family is attacked by vampires outside the protective walls of the city, he tries to convince the ruling clergy that their old foes are back in force but they quickly dismiss his concerns as depressing. So Bettany is forced to take the theology, er… law into his own hands, defying his masters and escaping into the outlands on his super rocket bike to rescue his niece. Or something. I don’t know. Despite the premise and that brilliant description above, the whole thing is actually incredibly boring. It’s almost a testament to the movie makers’ lethargy.
So Bettany is searching through the ruined wastelands, coming across abandoned vampire hives along the way. Well, semi abandoned. Every once in a while they come across some “familiars” who are like wannabe vampires or something. I don’t know, they never really explain what the hell they are. And then face a guard-dog vampire. Or something. Ugh, this movie sucked. Anyway, there are a few sporadic moments of genuine action thrown in with Bettany and Maggie Q kicking some serious butt. But even those scenes are sort of lost in the shuffle when Karl Urban is introduced as the main bad guy. He’s a former priest turned half-vampire hybrid. Or something. God dammit this movie sucked!
The whole thing is a clumsy, tiresome, garbled mess lacking in anything resembling a coherent plot or character development. I mean, the first decent looking vampire movie in years and somehow I found myself yearning for a sparkly skinned manchild with a fondness for jailbait.
Have you seen the movie? What did you think about it? Let me know in the comments below!