Making its premium cable channel debut this weekend on Starz was 2011’s “Priest”, starring Paul Bettany, Maggie Q and Karl Urban.
“Priest” is a movie set in the proverbial “Dystopian Future”, where large city states are controlled by a religious hierarchy, while outside their walls, vast wastelands are overrun with vampires. Due to vampire’s traditional weakness to religious artifacts and items, the warriors in charge of defending the cities and fighting vampires are priests.
When one of the priests hears that his frontier relatives have been slaughtered by vampires, and their daughter kidnapped, he leaves the protection of the city in order to prowl the wastes in search of the girl.
I should clarify up front that the “Vampires” in this movie bear no resemblance to the fictional creature you’re familiar with. That’s ok, neither do the “Priests”. The “Vampires” are enormous, hairless mutant bears. The “Priests” are soldiers who pray before and sometimes during battle… wielding cross shaped daggers and throwing stars against the “Vampires”.
Bettany spends just enough time in “The City” to establish the ridiculously dark and dreary future they want to portray – a movie world that makes Blade Runner’s LA look like Disneyland. The religious oligarchy is sternly portrayed by Christopher Plummer and Alan Dale, who literally sit on high and try to maintain the “Church’s” hold on the populace by perpetuating the fallacy that the vampires have were eliminated in the last war.
Of course, it wouldn’t allow for much runtime if Bettany didn’t go AWOL anyways, chasing across the desert wastes in search of the kidnapped Lily Collins. Turns out, she was captured by Karl Urban, the one lone traditional “Vampire” in the film. Urban’s what’s his face used to be a Priest in Battany’s squad in the “Vampire” war, but was presumed dead and abandoned. He wound up turned, however, and now is out for his revenge.
This movie is ridiculous from the high concept on down. The plot is ridiculous, the dialogue is ridiculous, the action is ridiculous. Anyone want to guess how the special effects were? ________
I named this movie one of my ten Worst Picture Nominees and FMR stalwart PG Cooper agrees, naming it to his list of Ten Most Hated Films of 2011. Even though it’s on cable now, and you could watch it “free”, I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re a fan of movies that make you laugh due to how terrible they are.