I was really excited to see PRIEST. I absolutely loved the trailer. I think Paul Bettany is an amazing actor and how cool for him to get to do an action flick! Then I got to the theatre and the only showing was in 3D - so I paid the extra $5, got my little glasses and headed into the AMC 3D experience. The previews for the other movies were seriously loud! The chairs vibrated in a way that brought to mind the 'Sensurround Sound' movies of the 70's. Earthquake in particular - yes I am that old. The last half of the previews were 3D previews so I put my glasses on and got ready to be totally entertained!
The movie is stunning. You can immediately tell that most of the $60 million budget (BoxOfficeMojo.com) of this film went to the Visual FX department. The acting is really solid, the story is your basic 'Save Princess Zelda' scenario. The over all problem I found with this film was that when the 'Princess was saved' - nothing happened. This movie has no climax. HA! I couldn't believe it! I think the climax for this movie is supposed to take place in the sequel. But, you know, hey, the Visual FX were awesome.
Let's talk about action a bit. The action starts out cool and interesting to watch. The priests in the film are supposed to be the only beings that have the fighting capabilities to defeat the vampires. So the priests have their own fighting style and lots of cool gadgets - I love gadgets in a post apocalyptic film! I'm a geek, what can I say? This priest fight style is real consistent through the first two major battles. Paul Bettany, and his stunt doubles, look amazing as he grapples with the vampires, practically crawling sometimes, throwing the cross gadgets and torturing a 'familiar.' Then Maggie Q (and stunt double Linda Jewell) joins him and they team up to fight a massive Vampire Hive Protector. It's awesome.
But then when 3 other priests face off with the the Bad Vampire - the priest fight style disappears. Suddenly one of the priests - played by the absolutely amazing Arnold Chon - executes an attack on the Bad Vampire that is pure Movie Martial Arts and completely different from everything we have seen up to this point! Then Arnold doesn't even get a chance to fight, the bad guy is supposedly so bad that he can just put his fist through a priests body and kill him. Arnold Chon is an incredibly talented stunt man and movement artist and he was used simply as bad guy fodder. At least they had a great shot of his face before they burned him on a funeral pyre.
I was so disappointed that they didn't continue to develop and show off more and more of the priest fighting style as the movie progressed. What other gadgets did they use? The Bad Vampire was an ex priest so why didn't they show him fighting using a fusion of priest/vamp style? From then on the action in the movie is basically the same we see all the time in movies. Maggie Q clotheslines a bad guy to get him off his motorcycle. The Good Priest and the Bad Vampire fight on top of a moving train for way too long...then the train blows up...that was cool...great Visual FX...
I would wait for video on this one. It will be just as exciting on a big screen HD TV as it was in the '3D Experience!'... with Sensurround Sound!