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Priest

by

Jeff Nelson

Seeing Priest isn't just wasting money, but throwing away precious time.

Priest
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Unfortunately, there are only a handful of well-made modern action films. As time passes, more studios appear to believe that it takes very little effort to entertain audiences. While the occasional mindless action flick is fun, they're being released too often. Once a large number of these movies have been released, the genre begins to be defined by them. Priest is definitely included in this category. I avoided the theatrical release due to my gut feeling that this would be a disappointment. Once available, it was added to my Netflix Queue. I wasn't prepared to spend $12 on this movie, but thought I'd rent it. However, my time was equally at risk along with the cost of admission.

A legendary Priest from the last Vampire War lives among the human inhabitants in a walled-in city ruled by the Church. When his niece is abducted by a violent pack of vampires, Priest breaks his sacred vows to rescue her before they turn her into a vampire. His niece's boyfriend joins him on his quest. The story line is even more paper thin than one would have imagined. Behind the action, the plot is dull. Not only has the story been told countless times before, but the the script looks just as bad on paper as it does on the big screen. I didn't care for the characters in the slightest. Apart from knowing the purpose of the roles, the audience gets no additional background. Priest becomes very repetitive early on and never breaks away. The ending is undeniably predictable and pathetic. There aren't any interesting or fresh concepts to be seen anywhere in this mess. Each line of dialogue is cliché. Many of the action sequences are even copied from the big blockbusters. I don't think any viewers expected Priest to have a phenomenal screenplay, but I hoped for more than this garbage.

With such an atrocious script, the acting is already doomed. Even if Academy Award winners appeared here, it wouldn't be much better. Actors can't polish a terrible screenplay. Paul Bettany fits the look of Priest. Karl Urban doesn't receive much time on screen as Black Hat, but is suitable for the role. Cam Gigandet is known for his looks, not particularly his acting talent. He doesn't offer much more than eye candy for the girls. The cast surely has the looks for the roles, but the acting isn't very good overall. I never felt convinced that these actors were the characters. None of these actors feel natural in his or her role.

As expected from this class of action motion pictures, there's a large amount of CGI. Not only are the script and acting stale, but the visuals are as well. The filmmakers went way over the top with the CGI. These creatures don't even look like vampires. The designs are laughably bad. Priest uses quite a bit of slow motion, which never works to its advantage. Even the most action-oriented portions of the movie don't even come close to being intense. These generic visuals are sloppy at best. However, the dynamic audio is explosive. The surround speakers are constantly put to work. Those who enjoy incredible amounts of bass will be satisfied with the output from the subwoofer, but don't expect anything close to TRON: Legacy. The horrendous dialogue is never difficult to make out. While this isn't a reference quality track, it's damn close.

Audiences who have held hope for Priest to be an entertaining thrill ride will be utterly disappointed. The plot falls flat on all accounts. All of the performances are mediocre or worse. I didn't find myself caring what happened to any of these characters. While CGI can be a very useful tool in modern film, too much is never a good thing. This is just a stupid flick that never even passes as a good mindless action affair. I can only hope that studios will begin to look a little closer at the movies being released into theaters. Everything about this junk is conventional. Seeing Priest isn't just wasting money, but throwing away precious time.

My Rating = One Star

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