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Priest Another Awful Action Picture; Action Pictured on Milk Carton

Directed by Scott Charles Stewart
Written by Cory Goodman based on the graphic novel by Min-Woo Hyung
Sony, 2011

The top-grossing action pictures of the last few years have had an inordinate amount of balls-to-the-wall nonsense as its calling card.  The last two Pirates of the Caribbean pictures, the two Transformers flicks, a somehow-loved Die Hard sequel, and a ton of video game and comic book adaptations have downright sodomized action right in its poopy-hole.  And because it seems the world population is OK with it as long as they see quickly-edited “action” and explosions, we have given the right of the filmmakers to not give a rat’s ass about what you see on screen.  We will never question it, we will enjoy it based on “what it is” and not “what it should be.”

After a couple of weeks of critical sewage giving Fast Five and Thor a pass, critics are deciding Priest isn’t good enough.  I honestly can say Priest is worse than those two movies, but there’s not much of a difference.

Uggghhhhhh…..vampires want to rule the world again.  Vampires and humans used to fight all the time, and then humans built walled cities with church in mind to keep safe.  Priests are badass vampire-killers, but lately the church has been keeping its citizens inside and they have become bad guys in their own right, throwing around V For Vendetta and They Live type slogans around town.  To go against the church, is to go against God.  So when our main Priest (Paul Bettany, back in Legion country with his director Stewart) hears that his brother’s family has been attacked by vampires and his niece (Lily Collins) has been kidnapped, he wants the church’s permission to go exact some revenge.  The de facto leader Monsignor Orelas (Christopher Plummer) says there are no such thing as vampires anymore and leaving is out of the question.  And thus, the Priest must “go against God” and try to save his family.

Orelas sends out four other Priests to hunt our hero down, and he can be brought back dead or alive.  One of them is the tragically hot Priestess (Maggie Q), who knows that hunting down our hero is probably wrong, and plus, despite her vows, has a bit of a thing for the guy.  So they team up, along with his niece’s boyfriend Hicks (Cam Gigandet).  We find out that there is some really awesome vampire making trouble and creating an army.  That’s Black Hat (Karl Urban), who has kidnapped Priest’s niece for a reason.  They have some sort of history or something, and the kidnapping might be a diversion to a greater goal.

The regular vampires in this movie, the true-bloods, are awful digitally-rendered blobs of wasted celluloid.  I’ve pretty much had it with the lack of creativity on the design of monsters, and then the lack of terror they invoke.  I’ve discussed before, the digital creations have made movies more affordable but they don’t beat things that are real, things that you feel you can actually touch.  When these guys get killed, there is a negative impact.

The whole final third of the movie involves derailing a high speed train.  Yep.  A train full of vampire army, Black Hat, and the Priest’s niece.  Might have been cool if there seemed to be any stakes involved with the action, like one wrong move and the niece dies, or the Priest dies, or the town that the train is heading to even seemed to be in imminent danger.  But you never get the sense anyone is in trouble.  Black Hat’s powers seem to be…he punches and kicks better than most vampires.  He has more power just because he says so.  Over the years, so many movies have had a difficult time figuring out what “power” means, and when someone covets or possesses “more power” it is never defined.  It really usually means that the bad guy is slightly tougher to beat, but the guy always has some easily-exploited flaw.  It’s pretty unsatisfying.

Priest is pretty bad.  Luckily it looks bad, so maybe people won’t flock to this.

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