Preacher: South Will Rise Again – Preacher’s Power (Review)

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Preacher this week has another prologue sequence that reveals more backstory to “The Cowboy” aka Saint of Killers. In “The South will Rise Again”  much more is revealed. That voice/power Preacher assumed was God inside of him is not. The “angels” are down collecting Genesis without permission and Tulip recruits Cassidy to help on her revenge mission.

More importantly, there is another example of what Jesse’s power does to the people he influences. The bus driver  took do driving his bus up and down the streets at odd hours and now Odin Quincannon has blasted the Green Acres crew into oblivion.  Donnie Schenck has also lost the plot since his dealings with Custer and “That” voice.

It appears that Jesse’s use of “the voice” may sway his flock to do his will, but it keeps the individual’s personality unchanged. Either that or it strips away the “sanity” of the recipient allowing the facade of civilized behavior  to fall away.

Regardless of what the end result is, apparently despite the preacher’s intent to do good, the opposite actually occurs…eventually. One wonders what will happen to Tracy. Or more importantly, the hate-filled mother of Tracy who was trying her damnedest to hurt Arseface till Jesse stepped in.

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(r to l) Tom Brooke as Fiore, Anatol Yusef as DeBlanc

As Fiore and DeBlanc point out to Custer, he has been using the power a lot.  In his impromptu church session in Flavor Station the preacher  slips that “voice” into a number of conversational counseling interactions.

It seems pretty well signposted that all hell is about to break loose in Annville.  Arseface’s father flipped out at breakfast after the writing on the wall was discovered the night before. Root shouts at his son to finish what he began, the same thing written on the bedroom wall.

Interestingly, Tulip  recruits Cassidy,  who seems more interested than one would have thought, and seals the deal with her new assistant with sex in the back of the car.  Jesse’s former lover and cohort in crime is completely dispassionate about the act, which is in character for this fascinating woman.

The Cowboy prologue was brilliant and so absorbing that it ended far too soon.  This flashback to the “legend” is gritty and disturbing, almost as much as Ratwater itself.  Buying and selling of scalps, rape (in front of the woman’s son) and viciousness personified  makes these snippets of “the old west” upsetting and oddly compelling to watch.

(Has anyone else noticed that  the western town set looks amazingly like the one used in Django: Unchained? Specifically that saloon front.  It would not be surprising at all to see Amber Tamlyn looking down from an upper story window.)

As brilliant as Preacher is so far it has failed to live up to that adrenaline fueled rollercoaster ride of a pilot.  While there is a pervading sense of dread to the series, like Fiore and DeBlanc’s reaction to “that” phone ringing, things have slowed down a bit.

There was that surprise ending to “The South will Rise Again episode on Sunday.”  After watching Odin come across so “God-like” with a humility and that eager to please look on his face , the quick and shocking death of five Green Acre members in his office was jaw-dropping.

Prior to that was the preacher learning that it is not God’s power that resides in him. Jesse also learns about Cassidy’s interaction with Fiore and DeBlanc and that they are from heaven.

Cue Quincannon’s small bloodbath.

The series looks to crank up a notch or two. Perhaps not quite to the frantically entertaining level of the plot but things are about to get interesting. Jesse also seems about to undergo another change.

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Dominic Cooper as Jesse Custer

Preacher airs Sundays on AMC.

MAIN CAST:

Rating is for mature audiences only due to content.

Preacher: See – God’s Hit Men (Review)

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With an adrenaline fueled opening, the pilot of “Preacher” was predictably going to be a hard act to follow and it was. “See” started a tad slow and esoteric (offering a somewhat oblique look at the  “Saint of Killers)  but then slowly evolved into a more interesting segment when “God’s” two hit men arrived at the church to “summon” or remove forcibly Genesis from the Jesse Custer.  Tulip provides a bit of comic relief and Cassidy proves that a vampire is more than a match for two “angels” in this second episode of the new series.

Custer (Cooper) is releasing that voice (Genesis) more in this episode and still fighting off Tulip (Negga) because he does not do bad things anymore.  (But we know that he will and that he does.)  Odin Quincannon (played by Jackie Earle Haley), a man who brings a Mac-truckload of workers and an entourage of muscle with him when he travels, is introduced. 

The highlight of this episode though was Cassidy (Gilgun).

(It is interesting to note, in this “Brit heavy” cast, that both Gilgun and Negga have worked on a series before, though not together. The simply brilliant, and quirky English E4 series “Misfits”  saw the two actors playing young offenders with special powers. Those interested can catch the entire series over on Hulu.)

Stepping away from the main plot lines of Tulip enticing Jesse (“Thanks for getting me all wet.”) to join her life of crime,  the pervert school bus driver and the coma girl (“Open your eyes.”) it is Cassidy who runs the show.

Coming back into the church to find a comatose Jessie about to be split open with a small chain saw, the vampire mistakenly believes that the two western garbed angels are little “Van Helsing’s” who want him. Before he can finish threatening the two, DeBlanc (Scottish actor Anatol Yusef ) shoots Cassidy in the stomach.

This sets off a splendid fight to the death in Custer’s church. Fiore (English actor Tom Brooke) uses the small chainsaw as a weapon and DeBlanc uses his pistol and later a hymnal to attack the vampire.

The battle is violent, bloody and manic.  Cassidy eventually overpowers the two angelic hit men and after devouring enough blood, self heals. He then cuts the two bodies up, deposits them in the giant box, that the two brought into the church,  but has to wait till sundown to bury them.

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Joseph Gilgun as Cassidy – Preacher

The weird and archaic equipment that Fiore and DeBlanc used while attempting to capture Genesis was quirky. The slow motion turning of the musical crank and DeBlanc crooning the children’s nursery rhyme was odd and funny. (Just as funny was the idea that Genesis was to be contained in a coffee tin labelled “Old Time Coffee.”)

Custer himself was much less violent this week. His only real outpouring of hand’s on altercation being that of shoving the bus driver’s head in a hot tub of water while telling the miscreant to “forget the girl.”

There were some great little moments:  The sign “Free Jesus With Every Purchase” was a lovely touch. Does it imply that one free’s Jesus when they make a purchase, or that a free Jesus is given with every purchase?

Cassidy talking sh*te about “The Big Lebowski” and working the word “Sh*te” in several times – “Gob-sh*te being one variation on the word –  and his threatening to do drugs at the start of the episode.

Tulip at the whore house poker game, with Quincannon’s moving men, along with her kidnapping of Custer, was just brilliant. How can anyone not love what Ruth Negga brings to a role?

On that note, as good as Cooper is, both Negga and Gilgun own this series so far. Of course, Cooper’s character has not yet reached fruition with the power of Genesis so that may well change.

Sheriff Root (W. Earl Brown) dourly questioning the resurrected Fiore and DeBlanc at the end of the show was a surprise. Although resurrected may be a misnomer as the originals were hacked to pieces via chainsaw and buried. This is more a case of Fiore and DeBlanc 2.0. 

“See” ended on a cliffhanger of sorts. Jesse tells the girl in the coma to open her eyes, in that deep Genesis voice, and we will have to wait a week to see if it worked (although we know it will).

“Preacher” airs Sundays on AMC.  Tune in and catch some great performances, a quirky script and marvel at the genius of Seth Rogen and co.

Preacher: AMC & Tom Cruise Explodes (Review)

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It is interesting to note that two of the stars of “Preacher,” the new series  based on the uber violent western comic, both come from the Marvel-verse; Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga both have connections with SHIELD.  For those in the know about British telly, it is pretty cool that Cassidy the Irish vampire is being played by a “Dingle from Emmerdale” Joseph Gilgun. In a show  that dares to explode Tom Cruise off camera the humor is high and international.  

For this particular AMC offering, co-written, co-directed and co-produced by “Preacher” comic fan Seth Rogen  it almost feels like a case of the British taking over Hollywood.  Cooper and Gilgun are both from England and Negga, despite being born in Ethiopia, was raised in Ireland from the age of four.  Lucy Griffiths (Emily) hails from Brighton, Sussex and  Tom Brook (Fiore) is from London. 

One of the only “home grown” actors in the regular cast is that versatile and prolific character actor W. Earl Brown who plays Sheriff Hugo Root. Although Donnie actor Derek Wilson is also a “local lad.” 

“Preacher” is easily one of the most eagerly anticipated new series to air this year.  The violent western comic with protagonist Jessie Custer (Cooper) who wants to be a “good man” despite his inherent love for violence and his ability to deal it out almost lovingly.

The pilot contains some brilliant set pieces. Something big and powerful has beaded to earth. A preacher in Africa talks about a huge war and the big power from space invades his body. The results, after he declares himself the chosen one, are visceral and far reaching.

Custer presides over the local All Saints Congregational Church. (There is a gag with the church sign that will be familiar to anyone who has ever watched Fawlty Towers or YouTube.) The Texas setting is as country as ticks and chigger bites on one’s ankles, and redneck enough to evoke a slight feeling of revulsion when getting too close to the local populace.

“I just Abe Lincoln’d that squirrel.”

Negga is Tulip, Custer’s squeeze from the comic world, and she is tough, deadly and possibly psychotic.  She also has a touch of MacGyver in her, with the help of two farm kids, one being the boy who thinks dead bodies are “Awesome! Awesome!” Tulip manufactures a bazooka with tin cans, tape, corn-shine and and metal toys.

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Tulip; “Awesome! Awesome!”

(Purists may grumble that the AMC version has made Tulip black, but seriously?  Negga is not only an actress with an excellent pedigree she is gorgeous as well. Who really cares?Ruth was convincingly dangerous and lovelorn in seconds. Live with it, the best actress won over the comic’s origin.)

Gilgun is brilliant as Cassidy.  The actor, who  got his start on the long running English soap Coronation Street and learned all about onscreen violence in This Is England  (both on the big screen and small) proved to be a convincing “stunt” artist in his mile high fight on the air liner. (A highlight in the pilot.)

The fight choreography is spot on in “Preacher.” The fight scene in the bar, where the preacher manages to despatch a wife beater and his snotty henchmen with a small, self-satisfied smile, is almost as magical as that high in the sky uneven battle between Cassidy and his would-be killers.

So too is the desperate struggle in the racing car between Negga’s character and the man who wants the map.  Those not familiar with the comic may be surprised at the level of violence in the show. It is, however, not overly visceral nor is it in your face. At one point a limb is broken but the camera does not linger. It does not have to, the solitary glimpse is much more effective when combined with the victim’s drooling cries of pain.

Every thing about this series pilot screams comic or graphic novel. The framing of each shot, the colors and the scenarios all bring the viewer right into the world of “Preacher.”  The humor is addictive. Cassidy’s  landing after the fight on the jet, even after taking the precaution of grabbing a brolly  and putting some blood in a bottle,  leaves him the worse for wear and a curious bovine visitor pays the price.

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Cassidy kicking arse and taking names.

That Seth Rogen’s hand is in the mix for this adaptation of “Preacher” is evident. The mixture of sly and overt comedy is there for all to see. The Tom Cruise explosion (One imagines hearing the superstar yelling “I am the Chosen One,” like the poor sod in Africa.) The battle between the politically incorrect former school mascot and the new PC one and the mayor being punched  by a woman.

This is not, however, all about the “yuks.”  It is the darkness, the violence and the innate western feel to this comic being brought to life. How can one not be enamored of a hero who gets a sense of relief when he beats the literal hell out of a few miscreants.

Tulip, Cassidy and Custer all live by the sword, so to speak, and there are a few others in the town of Annville (Anvil?Get it?) who look as though they all drink at the same trough, Hugo Root (Brown) for one and of course wife abuser Donnie is not bashful about beating someone he is not married to.

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Cooper about to put the bunny in the bear trap…

Dominic Cooper may be better known as Tony Stark’s poppa in the world of Marvel, but   he looks to be right at home in those black cowboy boots, dog collar and rumpled hair.  “Preacher” airs Sundays on AMC and the pilot can be watched right now on their site.  Everything about this new series screams comic from the logo to the framing of each scene, tune in and bliss out.