Based on the Korean comic book, Priest is the first big 3D film of the summer season. Obviously, Paul Bettany got this role because he worked with director Scott Stewart previously on his first film, Legion. I never really considered him an A list actor and I am surprised he got a leading role in this. To my impatient readers who skip down to the final grade and don’t read the reviews, let me just say that Americanized films of Asian pop culture don’t usually result in a good product, and this film is no different. The plot is nothing like the source material and it boils down to a priest who disobeys church law to track down the vampires who kidnapped his niece. It’s like a superhero movie that rips on zombie movies, vampire movies, mad max movies, spaghetti western movies and a little bit blade runner too.
Priest ends with the option for a sequel but I doubt if that will happen. This isn’t a Scorcese/DiCaprio or even a Burton/Depp collaboration. Nowhere close. Then again, you don’t watch films like this expecting an Oscar-winning tale, and action-wise, Priest is entertaining. Too bad, the action doesn’t last long as Priest sports not only after production 3D, but the running time is horribly short at only 87 minutes in length. As a concept and an idea it had sooo much more to give, however the actual plot was pretty much what we have all already seen in similar films. This is especially certain in Maggie Q who plays yet another tough-as-nails female. Although, no real complaints as she pops up in a nice leather outfit for most of the film.
Some of this movie you can see a mile away if you watch enough movies or television shows. The director tried really hard to infuse the thematic aspects into the narrative but it came off sloppy. In addition, the fights have plenty of wire stunts and overworked computer graphics that rather than being photo-realistic, becomes a joke. The reward doesn’t matches the effort required. Those who decide on the 3D version of this film, save your money. As already explained, films that converts 2D into 3D formats during post production aren’t worth your time and effort.
There’s a very well done animated prologue and stunning sets and photography of the apocalyptic plain field. But, in the end there just isn’t enough here for me to recommend to you guys. I did like the trailer, and I feared the worst with what the poster had 3D on it, and I was right. Back to what I touched on earlier in this review, Priest is every cliché in the book rolled into one. It got to the point where we were laughing out loud at the stupidity and predictiveness of it. This only solidifies my stance that Americans should leave Asian properties alone, and not even a sexy Maggie Q in tight leather can save this film from being a Summer bomb.