It was Paul Bettany in the title role that attracted me to this movie – that and a cool fight sequence on the roof of a moving train in the trailer. I have been a Bettany fan since first watching ‘A Knights Tale’ which also starred the late Heath Ledger. I have seen that film maybe 100 times (house favourite) but I don’t think we’ll be revisiting Priest.
It’s not a bad movie, but it never really grasped me to the point that I cared whether our central characters survived the vampire attack, and without that emotional attachment, it’s all a bit flat. Priest is also an odd film in that it’s such a muddle of genres. It’s a horror movie – there’s no Edward Cullen in this vampire pack – that has a feel of a western – a loan steam train crosses the dusty savannah - with a soupcon of sci-fi - the long-coated priest and black-hatted vampire pulling some martial arts moves more ‘Crouching Tiger’ than ‘High Noon’. It’s quite a good story but not particularly well told. Bettany may manage to convey depths of emotion without saying a word, but he can’t cover for the whole script. I did look forward to the fight sequences but they were mostly uninspiring. Good to see Bettany had worked out for the shirt-off sequences; the priest beat Chaucer hands down on pecs if nothing else!
Sorry, it’s a 5 out of 10 from me.