DVD Review: Priest
The answer is: Kind of. Priest may be the most predictable film in recent years but Legion is widely considered one of the worst. Priest only marginally improves on that. It’s more enjoyable, but for all the wrong reasons.
The script is a derivative mess, the dialogue is laughably bad and delivered in a stilted, deathly serious way by varyingly talented cast members.
Bettany is a very good actor but you wouldn’t recognize it by his performance here. As the titular vampire hunter, he’s closer to an animated block of wood than a living, breathing character. Cam Gigandet tries to channel a Han Solo-esque suave, but fails horribly, due to his lack of acting ability and the aforementioned script. He’s probably one of the least likeable working actors in Hollywood, a charisma black hole.
Maggie Q is basically the female version of Bettany’s character, except she’s even worse because her line delivery is by far the worst in the film. And that’s saying a lot. Lily Collins is serviceable in her role as the beautiful damsel in distress, but she’s more macguffin than person. Christopher Plummer drops by for a paycheck. If you’re looking for a good performance by him go see Beginners, where everyone is uniformly terrific.
The only one that escapes the film unscathed, and really what elevates the film into bearable territory, is Karl Urban as the villain. He’s never less than good when he graces the screen. Here he hams it up to blinding heights and is clearly the only person in the production having fun. He’s fun, likable and by far the most compelling character in the film. His hat is also awesome, so awesome in fact that he’s named after it: Black Hat. That tells you everything about how imaginative and original this film is. Or isn’t.
The technical elements of the film are fine. Production design is pretty good, complete with nice costumes and good-looking sets, going for a Mad Max/Blade Runner-post-apocalyptic-dystopia look, which it achieves. The visual effects, on the other hand, are never more than average, the creature design being particularly uninspired. The music compliments the action but never crosses into memorable territory.
This is Stewart’s second film and if he can’t elevate himself with his next effort I suggest he goes back to the visual effects department.
Final Verdict: Entertaining in so far as you’ll laugh at how terribly serious everything is. Kinda pretty, forgettable and bland. You’ve seen everything that it offers elsewhere and done better. Its short 87 minutes are only worth your time due to Karl Urban, nothing else. It’s the film equivalent of a wet sponge to the face, not pleasant but not the absolute worst thing you could get hit by.