Wednesday, June 01, 2011
"Priest" is a futuristic sci-fi western version of "The Searchers" with Paul Bettany filling in for John Wayne and vampires substituting for Indians. Mr. Bettany plays Priest, a military man of God, trained by the church to hunt vampires who goes in search of his missing niece, Lucy. Karl Urban plays a vampire version of Clint Eastwood's "man with no name" from his early spaghetti westerns. If this all sounds appealing, you will find it to be a lot of fun.
The special effects are well done and there is plenty of action (in 2 or 3-D) as Priest, his cowboy partner Hicks, played by Cam Gigandet, and another priest, played by Maggie Q try to rescue Lucy and stop the vampires from reaching the unprotected cities. The vampires are depicted more like monsters than the Dracula version. They are muscular and fast, have no eyes but huge teeth and of course, can only hunt at night. Only Mr. Urban, as a former priest turned vampire, can exist in sunlight. The last third of the film takes place on a gigantic transport train keeping the vampires safe from sunlight as they move closer to their target. We've seen the climax before but credit Mr. Bettany and Mr. Urban for pulling it off with a fresh twist.
Christopher Plummer takes a paycheck in a cameo as the head of the church and Brad Dourif also cameos as a stereotypic western "snake oil" con man.
The film comes to a conclusion but also sets up a part two, which if this one ends up successful, will be inevitable.