What's harder to kill than a vampire? The thriving vampire movie genre, which reappears here in the form of Priest
, an entertaining mash-up of sci-fi, horror, and various westerns adapted from a graphic novel by Min-Woo Hyung and starring Paul Bettany (The Da Vinci Code, Creation, Iron Man
, etc.) in the title role. In Hyung's world (as depicted by screenwriter Cory Goodman and director Scott Charles Stewart), the future is a dystopian nightmare still reeling from centuries of conflict between humans and vast armies of slimy, humanoid vampires; having been saved (or so we're told) by fierce and noble warrior priests, people now live in a great, grim city that makes the Los Angeles depicted in Bladerunner
look like a vacation resort, while the remaining vampires have been consigned to "reservations" in the desert. A few hardy souls subsist out in the barren wilderness as well, and the fun starts when a gang of vamps attacks one family, abducting pretty young Lucy (Lily Collins, Phil's daughter) and killing her parents. The girl's sharpshooting boyfriend (Cam Gigandet) seeks out Bettany's retired Priest, who's only too willing to defy the dire warnings of the arrogant clergymen who control the cities, jump on his supercycle, and head out to do battle with a foe that, far from being defeated, has been regrouping and now plans to--gasp!--lay waste to all mankind. A couple of twists involving central characters are eventually revealed, but the best parts are the action sequences in the vampires' enormous "hive," aboard (and on top of) a speeding train, and elsewhere as the Priest and a few of his cross-bearing (on their foreheads, that is) comrades, including action veteran Maggie Q, try to stop the head vampire dude (basically a fanged version of Clint Eastwood's Man with No Name) and his ravenous minions. Considering the range of 21st-century vampire flicks, from the arty Swedish import Let the Right One In
to the romantic Twilight
series, there's plenty of room for a popcorn chewer like Priest
. --Sam Graham
A vampire western about a warrior priest who disobeys church law by teaming with a young sheriff and a priestess to track down a band of renegade vampires who have kidnapped his niece. An adaptation of the action-horror TokyoPop comic book.