Sunday, August 21, 2011

3 Short Paragraphs: Priest

2011, Scott Charles Stewart (mostly a visual effects guy but also responsible for the other Paul Bettany specfic action, Legion) -- download

Did Paul Bettany wake up one morning and decide he wanted to be the next specfic action star? Is he trying to fill in Vin or Keanu's shoes by spreading his genre around? I don't know and the web ain't talking. So, from playing an avenging angel in Legion he plays another "religious" role in Priest, as a ... priest, if that is what you can truly call a trained squad of vampire hunters who don't use guns, just specialized hand to hand weapons and martial arts. It is based on a korean manga / manhwa but is a history re-writing where we have been fighting vampires since the crusades but only recently learned how to defeat them, and only after a world destroying battle. And now, in a dark future where everything has gone to shit, the vampires are coming back.

The director, being a visual effects kinda guy, makes a movie that looks great. The dark city suffering from ash-snow and an oppressed populace is grand and grim. The weapons and jet bikes and monstrous vampires are well done. But it's the stringing together of the well-crafted scenes of scifi and violence that are wasted inside the lame plot. I don't know if to blame the source or the screen writer, but if vampires were just monstrous (as in, blind naked CGI monsters) killing machines, why would there be a reservation where they are allowed to live? Wouldn't being a Renfield be better recognized a crime instead of just being frowned upon? And I get oppressing your populace to keep them in line but wouldn't scaring their pants off with another possible vampire attack be more useful than sticking your head in the sand and denying the are a problem? It was one of those movies where it was probably best to be not paying full attention so you wouldn't yell at the screen.

So, I began just watching the background and set-dressing. I liked the western element to the story, the idea of towns being abandoned to the countryside because the people were not interested in the religious oppression. But in a countryside that has been devastated by global warfare, what exactly are they ... harvesting? But it does add a feel to the movie in mirror to the dark steel & stone of the big city. In the end, all the movie has for itself is the look & feel. Oh that, and a dhampire in a black cowboy hat.