I usually like comic/graphic novel movie adaptations. Especially when I’ve read the print version, which is a lot of the time. I never read the manga book of Priest though, so I wasn’t exactly sure of the story. I knew there were vampires and a stylized post-apocalyptic world that we see so often in these films. But that was it. I like going into movies that I don’t know a lot about. Then I never have very high expectations and can be either pleasantly surprised, or completely disappointed. Priest was the former.
Much like Watchmen, another graphic novel-turned-film, Priest tells the story of a group of crime fighters (or, in this case: vampire fighters) who were no longer necessary and deactivated. They have to go back into the population, feeling miserable, and live out the rest of their days as average joes. Also like Watchmen, this isn’t enough and they get the band back together. In the case of Priest, though, it’s because the protagonist (Paul Bettany)’s niece is kidnapped by a group of vampires long thought to be wiped out. Turns out they were actually amassing an army in the desert outside of what seems to be the only city left in the world, and are plotting a takeover. So Priest sets out to return his niece and the other priests are sent to bring him back. With all the protectors lured outside the city, no one is safe from a wicked vampire attack. Of course, once the plan is unearthed, it’s up to Priest and his cohorts (which ends up only consisting of Maggie Q and Cam Gigandet, who is a human sheriff and Priest’s niece’s boyfriend, when all is said and done) to stop them. Karl Urban does a great job as the villain, and Christopher Plummer plays a nutty guy like usual. He’s the head of the church, which has apparently replaced the government in this future world.
Priest is a pretty decent film: good action and kind of a fun story. I’d say if you have some time and money to burn, check it out. Or wait for the DVD. Or, wait for it to come on one of those Sunday movie channels that I love so much. It will most certainly end up there before the year is out. But however you choose to see it, Priest is worth a look. Oh, if you do go to the theater, don’t waste the extra few bucks on that stupid 3-D nonsense. This film wasn’t shot in 3-D and, like pretty much every other movie that exists, doesn’t need it.
The Priest trailer: