Film (2011). Screen Gems presents a Michael De Luca Productions, Stars Road Entertainment and Tokyopop production in association with Buckaroo Entertainment. Directed by Scott Stewart. Written by Cory Goodman from the Korean Graphic Novel series Priest (1998-2007 16vols) by Min-Woo Hyung. Cast includes Paul Bettany, Lily Collins, Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q, Christopher Plummer and Karl Urban. 87 minutes. Colour.
A priest (Bettany) disobeys the monsignor (Plummer) of his Religious Order to track down the Vampires who have abducted his daughter (Collins).
Priest lifts the plot of The Searchers (1956), directed by John Ford, by way of the by now familiar conflation of Post-Holocaust and Dystopias scenarios to produce an alternate Wild West deemed more suitable for the multiplex than the visually distinctive sequence of manhwa graphic novels from which it is adapted. Attempts are made to leverage the popularity and Mythological violence of the Blade (1998-2004) and Underworld (2003-current) film franchises, with some of the Psi Powers of the Jedi knights from Star Wars (1977-present) and the skylines of Blade Runner (1982) thrown in for good measure.
Bettany – who replaced Gerard Butler as lead actor in pre-production – reprises his disturbed cleric routine from Legion (2010), also directed by Scott Stewart, and The Da Vinci Code (2006) (see Dan Brown), teaming up first with his daughter's lover (Gigandet), then with the priestess who loves him (Maggie Q), before facing his one-time friend turned "Black Hat" (Urban) on a vampire-filled train hurtling through ruins (see Ruins and Futurity) toward the human-occupied City that houses the priests and their flock. The vampires here – no eyes equals no soul – are clear analogues of (a) the biologically-modified Supernatural Creatures from the Resident Evil (1996-2008) sequence of Videogames, and (b) the Comanche from Ford's classic Western. After overcoming his nemesis, the priest returns home to raise the possibility of a sequel, hope being first among the theological virtues. [MD]
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