Priest , a deadly delight of vampire slaying action
The Dusk till Dawn series offers a taste of this dish. However, in the 2011 supernatural action thriller Priest, there are some extra ingredients and an added Asian spice to create a new dish.
Set in a post-apocalyptic alternate world where humans and vampires have fought a war for generations until the Church creates an elite spiritual elite warrior group called ‘Priests’ who are mandated to protect the human race. Their leader, and the best vampire slayer, is Priest – a silent man who has sacrificed all to become a warrior for the Church.
Paul Bettany takes his pledge to the Church to a whole new dimension as the deadly priest out to find his kidnapped ‘niece’ and avenge his brother.
There is a feeling of déjà as he takes on the spiritual warrior role. His most prominent (in my opinion) role was also the albino Opus Dei priest Silas in The Da Vinci Code in which he played opposite Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou. He also spread his wings as the archangel Michael in another apocalyptic action thriller Legion.
This time a legion of vampires are set invade the city in which our protagonist resides. The computer generated blood suckers are unlike the popular romanticized forms usually depicted in films like Interview with the Vampire or the Dusk series.
Instead we are shown truly nocturnal creatures that have no eyes – no soul – grey skin that looks like dead flesh and do not have special powers like flying.
They are albino cave dwelling creatures and are photosensitive but they are led by an ex-priest turned vampire simply called Black Hat (Karl Urban from Pathfinder, Chronicles of Riddick, Bourne Identity) who transports them in a train during the day to ravage nearby towns in the night.
Black Hat who becomes the face of evil is not revealed until halfway into the film although we are given a glimpse of him in flashbacks and nightmares that Priest has.
Once, a warrior clergy, he falls during an assault in Sola Mira, the last vampire colony, and is changed by the queen vampire making him the first breed of human vampire. His deadly priestly skills and superhuman vampiric abilities make him the ultimate antagonist, more so than actual vampires who Priest has no trouble disposing.
Our hero gets a little help from Sherriff Hicks (Cam Gigandet), Lucy’s boyfriend, and Priestess played by sexy screen siren Maggie Q. Both stars are no strangers to action genre and seem to take to the roles quite easily.
The directorship of Scott Stewart brings sets a pace that is up to speed with Legion, making certain elements known later on and during the course of the film.
Unfortunately, guessing the priest’s big sacrifice was not too hard but it came as a pleasant, expected surprise when it was finally revealed.
The film was written by Cory Goodman as is based on the Korean comics of the same name by Min-Woo Hyung. The starting scenes and narrations shows a brief history of the vampire-human war and then tells of the ‘Priests’ being disbanded after the near annihilation of the vampire species.
The film is a mixed dish of visual and cinematographic delights combining a pinch of Korean comic with Goodman ink and drop of Q with a slice of Bettany and set to the right temperature by Stewart, this is a feast for any action loving, vampire hating movie buff.