I tried to watch Priest once before. At that time, I just couldn’t get into the film. For whatever reason, it just didn’t click. I honestly could not tell you why. Either my bio-rhythms were off or the fact that Carl Urban appeared to bite the “big-one” at the start of the film or a combination of the two, put me off the film.
When I saw a copy of Priest going for 3 pounds at the bargain DVD section at Tesco, I picked it up. I figured that for 3 quid, I’d give it another go. I’m actually glad I did. Because despite the film’s Korean graphic novel beginnings, it really turned out to be a western. And not just any western either, it was The Searchers revisited; sans Natalie Wood, Jeff Hunter and The Duke.
Directed by Scott Stewart with a screenplay written by Cory Goodman and based on Min-Woo Hyung‘s graphic novel of the same name, Priest really is an almost perfect western movie. I know, I know; some purists out there are going to scream to high heaven about not being faithful to the “original” concept. Which seems to be the clarion call of all “fan’s” of work adapted from a “manga-type” source.
But, I don’t care. In case the folks in the cheap seats missed that, I’ll repeat; I don’t care. Because I’ve never read the original graphic novel and apart from seeing the cover of it in a comic store downtown, I would have never known of its existence if it were not for IMDb and Wikipedia.
It is a future version of a world torn apart by war. The church has become all-powerful and in this verse, vampires have existed since the dawn of time. These are not the suave and sophisticated vamps of literature and film. These vampires are animalistic and more of a “hive” insect with a queen who’s lays vampire “eggs.” A legion of Priests were created by the church to battle the vampires and in a long epic battle they were defeated and the remaining creatures were put in “reservations.” (Sound familiar?)
The Priests are disbanded and forgotten. Years later, in an outpost in the Wasted Lands, a farmer along with his wife and daughter are breaking their backs trying to make a living out of the desert soil. As they sit down to their evening meal, they are attacked by a horde of vampires and the daughter hides in the basement only to be discovered by something.
*Cast courtesy of IMDb.*
Just like today, you cannot trust the guys in charge and refusing to give up is good.
Family is in the eye of the beholder.
After a long protracted battle between vampires and men, the men win and put the surviving vampires in “reservations.” It turns out that they’ve been pretty damned busy down there and when an outbreak occurs the leaders of the church refuse to believe that there is a problem. One priest (Paul Bettany), whose family it was that got attacked by this upsurge of vamps, goes against the church and decides to rescue his niece Lucy (Lily Collins). He is aided by the local lawman, Sheriff Hicks (Cam Gigandet) and a fellow Priestess (Maggie Q).
It turns out that the renegade vampires are being led by a former Priest, Black Hat (Karl Urban) who was lost to the vampires at the beginning of the film. He’s kidnapped Lucy to draw the Priest to him.
Paul Bettany as the Priest is all guttural angst and stoic grimness. He pretty much feels like Ethan in The Searchers but without the great lines that The Duke had in his film. Karl Urban as Black Hat is just, well, Karl Urban; there is not part that I’ve ever seen the man portray that doesn’t enthral me. Despite his tiny amount of screen time, when he is on-screen he blows everyone else away. Lily Collins, who was a relative newcomer when this film was made, did a brilliant job and even when she had snot running down her lower lip; still looked amazing.
As did Maggie Q as the kick-ass Priestess who helps Bettany track down all the bad vampires. Cam Gigandet’s sheriff was good at filling the Jeffrey Hunter role as the young guy who wants to make sure that girlfriend Lucy survives her reunion with her Uncle Priest. And in the cameo department, Brad Dourif was brilliant as the Snake Oil salesman who is touting the effectiveness of his “holy water.” And Christopher Plummer was great as the treacherous and “holier-than-thou” head of the church who banishes the Priest for even daring to presume that vampires have again become a threat.
Despite the dismal reviews that this film garnered, I liked it. The second I made the western connection, I was on-board and enjoying the show. The sets combined with the shooting locations and the CGI all made for a believable western-type apocalyptic arena for these “cowboys and indians” to do battle.
It’s pretty obvious that the creators of the film, loved western movies. The sets and the “frontier” towns would not have looked out-of-place in a Leone Spaghetti western. This combined with the epic scenery throughout the film made it look like The Searchers married to Once Upon a Time in the West.
A real 4 star out of 5 for me, just because of the loving “homage” to a great western that did not follow the original too closely and left things open for a sequel which, sadly, will probably not happen due to the poor performance at the box-office.
If you like/love westerns you’ll probably enjoy this film.
- Cam Gigandet a dad again (hollywood.com)
- “Da Vinci Code” star Paul Bettany joins Johnny Depp in “Transcendence” (panarmenian.net)
- ‘Divergent’ Movie News Update: Zoe Kravitz, Maggie Q and Ansel Elgort Join the Cast Film Based on Veronica Roth’s Novel (latinospost.com)
- Paul Bettany Joins TRANSCENDENCE! (web1.aintitcool.com)
29 thoughts on “Priest (2011): The Searchers for the Apocalypse”
-Bettany “searching” on the back of his “steed.”-
Nice picture caption, Paul Bettany really has some sexy slender legs and pert luscious breasts.
I liked it as well 😀
A friend brought it over for a movie marathon and we all thought it was fun 😀
Yeah, I definitely liked it the second time around! LOL
ARRRGGGHHHHH! I always do that!! Cheers for pointing that one out mate, I can now do my panicky edit on the go. 😀
You should delete that post about people needing to edit their posts. 🙂
Nope! Because it still shows that everyone makes boo-boos and they are human and prone to mess up…Especially ME!! LOL 😀
Pfft, I would never make a tipo.
Karl Urban is your butt!!!!!!!!!!!!
(A joke from another blog, Mike)
LOL! Which one? 🙂
Someone has his Correcting Britches on today : )
That’s why he has to wear a mask.
Looks like a bit of ‘cowboy’ in there … mite hafta have a look … or 2.
I guess I fell asleep or something the first time I watched this, it wasn’t until the second viewing that I realised the western connection. 😀
I wasn’t crazy about this, but I didn’t dislike it necessarily. It was simply alright for me.
I definitely liked it more the second time I watched it. Thanks for sharing mate! 😀
When I first saw the trailer for this, I wasn’t exactly impressed. But ‘The Searchers’ angle you and others have noted does have me curious now. I’ll give this a rental. Thanks, Mike.
It’s definitely worth a look…or two! LOL Cheers mate! 😀
Good review. I’ve heard of this, but passed. Just didnt interest me
I only wanted to see it because of the trailer with Carl Urban “directing” the explosions behind him and then when I first watched it, I was like…Meh. Only after watching today, did I enjoy the film. Weird. 😀
Yeah there are those films that grow on you. I have a few films I felt let down than loved 2nd time around (or liked). As I’ve said before I tend to avoid newer stuff. As of late I seem to avoid newer stuff more and more with only a few exceptions.
Hey I wanted to ask you, when it comes to the nomination you gave me. Is there anything I have to do? I’m new to that and was unsure what or if anything I have to do.
If you look at the post and read the rules it gives you a layout of what to do. I always look at a few other recipients and what they’ve done, although I sort of have a “format” that I use for any award received. 😀