Cinema sins

Don’t add your cash to the pile of money wasted on this film

Cinemark 14, Feather River Cinemas and Paradise Cinema 7. Rated PG-13.
Rated 1.0

Priest is bad. Really bad. Not the kind of bad/good where you can get drunk with a bunch of friends and make fun of it, but the kind of bad/really bad that sucks all the fun out of the room and makes the beer taste like warm piss.

Hundreds of years after a thinly veiled Vatican and its private army defeats a vampire uprising, humanity still huddles behind the walled cities of a theological dystopia. The monsters are locked down in reservations and the living subjects of the Kingdom of God are kept in line with promises of safe keeping. Trouble is, our hero priest (a decommissioned vampire-hunter, played by Paul Bettany) has word that the menace is creeping back, preying on the fringes of civilization. For some reason the church doesn’t care about the possibility of the end of the world all over again, so Priest risks excommunication to wander off and take care of things on his own. He does.

What went wrong with what could have been a promising premise? Well, everything. But that’s not all that surprising considering that this is from the guy who made Legion—and his latest manages to make that misfire seem tolerable. But Priest is completely intolerable, a soulless exercise in genre-riffing by way of The Road Warrior, Resident Evil, Aliens, The Matrix, I Am Legend and the talky parts of the Star Wars films. Priest is a cinematic seven-layer burrito where the only taste that comes through is The Phantom Menace … and ass.

But mostly Priest fails because it’s a superhero movie in action/horror drag. So lots of ponderous dialogue is delivered without a taste of irony against a thunderous orchestra; human characters defy physics and internal logic when they’re not standing around giving each other the Kubrick Death Glare; and our hero talks like he wants to be Christian Bale as Batman. It almost unreels like a spoof movie played very close to the cuff. Almost.