Thursday, November 24, 2011

Priest’s Comic Book Roots: A Movie Review

Director: Scott Charles Stewart.

Writers: Cory Goodman, Min-Woo Hyung (graphic novel).

Cast: Paul Bettany, Cam Gigandet and Maggie Q

Mid-way into the 2011 year was another horror dystopia flic called Priest. It featured Paul Bettany in the leading role. Although this fine actor is not a traditional action hero, he certainly has an impressive acting resume that does not typecast him. As the voice of Jarvis in the Iron Man films, Silas in The Da Vinci Code and also Charles Darwin in Creation, this actor with theatrical roots is not the problem. In the Internet Movie Database, he’s credited as the man who loves to play secondary characters that are scene-stealers.

The one moment that stole the show in Priest is in the animated narrative. It is wonderfully gory and subliminally surreal. Unfortunately, this sequence was not made any longer. An animation can continue in where the live-action film has left off. But when considering how well received this product was, that decision may not happen.

As an animated feature, maybe the theatrical treatment can be been made better. At least it could be excused in lieu for some more Japanese animated style motorcycle stunts a la Akira. The battle between the cowboys and the vampires is certainly not over as the ending of the movie suggests.

The film was interesting, but the mash-up of styles did not help make for a coherent product. It was like watching Blade Runner mixed up with Mad Max and True Grit at the same time. Since the movie could not decide in what to focus on as a backdrop, that was most likely why audiences did not become enamoured with the product. The ending was unsatisfying since not enough suspense and tension were developed. The town looming in the distance was never in danger.

At least viewers interested in the original treatment can find Tokyopop’s translation of the comic book of the same name. This 16 volume series is a lot more detailed, and it features three distinct time periods than genres that the movie tries to merge. "The Crusades," "Wild West" and "Modern" times are the timelines that the graphic novel explores.

Overall: 4 out of 10.

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