I originally went to see Priest as the final film of a three picture night at the drive-in. But after falling asleep after the first few minutes nearing the 2:30am mark, the film drifted far from memory and I couldn’t for the life of me tell you anything about the film the next day. However, with the Priest 2D and 3D single disc Blu-ray combo, I can easily see why I fell asleep that night.
Much more stunning than the drive-in presentation, Priest is a movie that should be enjoyed at 1080p, whether you choose 2D or 3D, however the 3D experience adds a bit more flare. The dark screen at the drive-in was not the place to present this already dark post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama. At home on the HD set, the movie came to life and quickly became one of the must-watch films of the year.
Set in an alternate world ravaged by centuries of war between man and vampires, Priest revolves around a legendary Warrior Priest (Paul Bettany) from the last Vampire War who now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human inhabitants in walled-in dystopian cities ruled by the Church. When his niece (Lily Collins) is abducted by a murderous pack of vampires, the Warrior Priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out on an obsessive quest to find her before they turn her into one of them. He is joined on his crusade by his niece’s boyfriend (Cam Gigandet), a trigger-fingered young wasteland sheriff, and a former Warrior Priestess (Maggie Q) who possesses otherworldly fighting skills.
Bethany, who’s seen his share of off-the-wall, odd-ball characters, is outstanding as the vow-busting Priest. Much like his other Godly role as Silas in the Da Vinci Code, Bethany pulls off a fantastic religious freak – and at this point in the Priest timeline, all Priests are considered freaks – with superior martial arts moves and uncanny gun skills.
The oddest thing in the film are the vampires, which at this stage in the evolution are alien-looking, dog-like monsters, rather than humanoid creeps. But that’s what’s most notable about the film – this is the beginning of the vampire species and if put on a timeline with something like Twilight or Vampire Diaries, this would be thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of years ago
Although the quest for the Priest’s niece is noble and a good start to what could be a new film franchise, the journey itself is what makes this movie exciting. Could we have went on without his niece surviving? You bet. But could we have watched this movie without the Priest protesting the Church and becoming a self-made vigilante? Never.
Priest is an original film in a genre of many variations, but at its heart, it’s a science fiction, action film with plot twists and a totally unique universe.