Priest by another name, is Doom

Priest – 2011

Directed by Scott Stewart

Starring Paul Bettany, Cam Giganet, Karl Urban, Christopher Plummer, Maggie Q, Alan Dale, Brad Dourif, Stephen Moyer, Mädchen Amick, Lily Collins

Written by Cory Goodman based on the comic series  Priest by Min-Woo Hyung

Paul Bettany is wasted.  Maggie Q is wasted.  Karl Urban is wasted.  They make ill use of Christopher Plummer, Alan Dale and Brad Dourif.  Cam Giganet is…okay.

The speciousness of this movie is in its appearance to be some great work of graphic art, picking up somewhere in the middle.  This works well for The Walking Dead, but plays more like Doom on a motorbike.  It wants to be better with what it imitates, The Road Warrior, The Searchers, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, but it cannot approach those, for those are original, with a pulse and a will to survive.  In this movie, the vampires are fast, the familiars talk, and most humans are kind of boring, you know, like cattle.

Cam Giganet, playing a small town sheriff named Ridge, who, by virtue of being attracted to the kidnapped girl, is drawn into an allied search with the titular Priest (Bettany) and a muted, toothless Maggie Q (playing another priest, but not one that deserves the title.  The girl is tied to a secret, of course, but you can guess what that will be.  The guy who kidnapped her, well, it would be original if he hadn’t been a close friend of Priest, but, well, you can guess what he might be.  For this move, I can only say that Sean Bean did it better in GoldenEye.

But let’s face it, this movie was not made for me.  It was made for the kids using their parent’s money, taking a break from video games (of which there are Legion, to be sure).  Why is Bettany here?  Perhaps because the director of his earlier starring feature, Stewart, must have pulled him in after Gerard Butler turned down the role.  That’s right, folks.  This movie was so crappy, even Gerard Butler turned it down.

Alas, it was made, then pushed back only to fill an spot on the schedule emptied by a Resident Evil sequel.  The extra time allowed the filmmakers to take the finished product and add 3D to it.  Of missing that version, I have no regrets.  This is undoubtedly what helped this movie turn a small profit with mid-size grosses.  Will it be enough for a sequel?  Goodness, I hope not.  Maybe Bettany could clear his slate for a worthy sequel, like Master and Commander.

(* out of *****)

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