As far as backstory goes, there's not a whole lot to tell. Priest is based off of the Korean Manhwa (Comic) of the same name, which from what I can tell was pretty much just an action series that incorporated bits and references to Western christian mythology. Essentially this film is a western interpretation of an eastern interpretation of western religion. I think it's safe to say that we're deep in Evangelion territory with the symbolism here.
I mention Neon Genesis Evangelion because it's a prime example of an Asian piece of fiction that had a habit of making references and allusions to Christianity without ever really getting into the actual theology of it, essentially just making references for the sake of seeming deep. This isn't necessarily a criticism of that practice, especially since American films have been doing the same thing with eastern religion and philosophy for years. It's just something to note, as it can lead to some rather bizarre stories, such as the short lived manga Let's Bible where the descendent of St. Peter unknowingly attempts to molest Jesus, who has been reincarnated (!?) in the body of a scantily clad young woman, only to be attacked by the Great-Great-Grandson of Satan, who uses the powers of his enchanted mariachi guitar to summon a nuke, only to be defeated when Peter's descendent (named Vulcan) summons the Kraken to eat him.
|That's right. There's the son of God.|
The film starts out with a short prologue where we see a group of the titular Priests going through some tunnels, until the eventually reach an open chamber. Then we get our first bit of dialogue, and I immediately lose any hope that this pile of horse shit has any chance at entertaining. They literally stand there for a several seconds, then our main character, who never gets a name other than Priest says; "It is a Trap."
|I WISH he was in here.|
|Still, I'll even take Alien: Resurrection ripoffs over the alternative.|
The story itself is pretty cookie-cutter post-apocalypse stuff, but I will admit when a movie does something right, which in this case would be having Genndy Tatakovsky to do the animation for the prologue. It's easily the highlight of what is otherwise a train wreck of a film. At least somebody had the good sense to get the guy who made this:
So that not EVERYTHING in this pile of celluloid is unsalvagable.
Back at the plot however, things don't make much sense here. I can maybe understand the Priests being disbanded after the war is over. I imagine a war against fucking vampires would be rather costly, and with the threat apparently gone it doesn't make much sense to keep your fully equipped special ops team running indefinitely. The problem comes in making them a secret. I mean, what the hell? What purpose does that serve? Movie, if you're going to have a tyrannical theocracy be believable you have to MAKE. FUCKING. SENSE.
We then move on to a small, single cabin, in the middle of bum fuck nowhere. We meet a couple who have been living out there with their daughter, and we are told through extremely stilted dialogue that they've been out there for years, waiting for the soil to slowly lose it's radioactivity so they could actually plant something out there.
So wait, they've been living out in the middle of a barren wasteland long enough to raise a daughter into at LEAST her late teens, and they've been doing it in the slim hope that some time, eventually, the dirt will reach a point where it won't immediately kill anything planted in it? Um, what? Was this plan A?
|"If we star here long enough, I'm sure this'll be a big, beautiful rainforest! Now drink your dirt honey."|
We then cut to "Sector 12" which only serves to remind me of The Hunger Games, which isn't a good idea as I'm already rather ambivalent about that adaptation. Then we meet Priest, our protagonist who has the amazing ability to never inject even a modicum of emotion or personality into his performance. It's here we also see that the movie is not content to rip off elements from Judge Dredd and The Matrix, as we see video monitors of Church Leaders, constantly spewing out the importance of following the church. Hey, guys, I've been through High School, meaning I've read 1984 too. Don't try to regurgitate steak and tell me it's still good.
|I'm honestly disappointed the Mon Signor didn't have a mustache.|
If I may ask a question...WHY? What good could that possibly serve? This is the threat that very nearly destroyed humanity, and you're not going to investigate it? Listen, there's "corrupt" and then there's "STUPID AS A SACK OF SPECIAL NEEDS HAMMERS".
Priest decides he'll go anyway, and gets on his...*sigh*...gets on his jet-engine powered bike. Which he uses to go over 200 miles per hour on. With no damage to his face despite the fact that he wears no face mask or goggles. Have the film makers never ridden on a fucking motorcycle before? Or understand anything about basic human endurance. I know that this is an action movie, and thus there's going to be plenty of times where physics gets kicked in the nads, but there has to be more happening to somebody going 260 mph then just having the wind pick their coat up a bit.
|...Is that the Bat-pod?|
We then get to see what's happened with Lucy, who's being imprisoned on a train that belongs to Black Hat. She and Black Hat converse for a few seconds, "Blah blah Priest will come to save me" "Blah Blah I'm counting on it" and a few other lines that would easily fit into an episode of Superman. I'm more interested in the bizarre cinematography of this scene, where everything is put through some strange green filter. It really doesn't do much other than distract me from what little plot there is, and is a bit of a strain on the eyes.
|Don't take movie making tips for Joel Schumacher|
So what, does that mean that they can't kill vampires without being related to a cross in some way? If not, then there's no point in doing it except to waste time and needlessly tamper with your ammunition. If it DOES, then would that men you could essentially just draw a cross on anything to use as a weapon? Like just draw a crucifix on a nuke and drop it on the vampires' hives! Did I forget to mention that? Yeah, the vampires apparently make hives. They now officially have more in common with Bees than they do with actual vampires. Our pair of
Next we get to meet these guys:
Speaking of story, we then cut back to the city, where the Church higher-ups are sending out 4 other priests in order to bring Priest back. I have to ask...WHY? Why are they willing to send out 4 people to get him back, rather than simply TAKING CARE OF THE VAMPIRES. Seriously, you'd rather exhaust resources in covering up the vampires than just GETTING RID OF THEM?
|"This sounds like a good plan."|
The Dynamic Didactic Duo make their way to the nearby remains of a vampire hive, and descend into the depths of its various tunnels to see if they left any clues as to where the hoard is headed. Also I feel I should mention the caves look like the inside of somebody's rectum, and the two seem to, for all outward appearances, be giving the Rock Biter a rectal exam.
|"Ya using the whole fist, Doc?"|
I'm getting off track. Priestess tells them that the 3 other Priests (I'm assuming they're named Canon Fodder, Dead Meat, and Corpse) have head to the town of Jericho to look for him, but she was the only one smart enough to figure out that the guy hunting vampires would probably go to the last place vampires were known to congregate, and that she wants to help him. Then they fight the "Hive Guardian" which is essentially just a larger version of the vamps we've already seen. It kind of looks like a poorly done CG version of Wildmutt from Ben 10.
|Oh wait, they already did that. *Sigh*|
Jesus tap dancing christ, how did the film makers take this seriously at all?
Meanwhile Black Hat and his vampires attack Jericho, and also find and swiftly kill the 3 Priests. Big shocker there I must say. Something to note is that during the scene of the town being destroyed, the score starts randomly playing opera music and Black Hat swings his arms around like he's a music director. It was weird. Moving on.
The next morning Priest, Priestess and Alter Boy (They're only 1 more character away from forming a christian rock band!) arrive at Jericho to find everybody dead and most houses burned to the ground. They also find the 3 Priests' bodies crucified at the town center.
The priest begin talking about what they think the vampires are planing when it just occurred to me that there's a big problem with this whole setting. Where are they getting the wood for these houses? Like seriously, we haven't seen a single tree in this entire god damn world, and yet everything outside of the cities is made of wood. Hell, even Black Hat's train is made of wood! I know it's probably not that important in the long run, but they've spent a LOT of time emphasizing there's absolutely nothing in this entire landscape, and yet expect us to just accept there's an invisible yet highly resourceful lumber industry out there somewhere.
As I was saying, the 3 eventually figure out that the Nosferatu Express is headed for the city, and that they purposefully drew out the Priests in order to leave the city defenseless.
Wait. Does that mean there were only 5 Priests in that entire city? But then...what? What? Just. Ow. My Brain. Thoughts hurt. Owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.
|Still more coherent than this movie.|
|"Best lawyer up, bitch."|
Back at the train, Alter Boy is STILL sloooooooowwwwwwwwwwwlllllyyyyyyyyyyyy making his way through the Vampiric train car, which really seems like the type of place you'd want to get through quickly. Black Hat and Priest just sort of stand there for a bit before BH explains that he was on the mission we saw at the beginning with Priest and was captured by the vampires, who tortured him before the Queen (Apparently Vampires have queens now. Like I said, they're more like giant, grey, quadrupedal bees than vampires.) made him...drink her blood or something, it's not very clear. This turned him into a "Hybrid" of human and vampire, and apparently made him super strong.
After a fight scene that makes me think the Wachowski Brothers should team up with Lucas in suing these guys. Eventually they end up inside the train car with Lucy, and Alter Boy finally makes his way through a single train car. Black Hat kicks their asses, and reveals to Lucy the truth about her father. He actually says "He never told you, did he?" which is so close to Darth Vader that I swear they must have incriminating photos that are keeping Lucas from suing them to hell and back.
|"I knew I shouldn't have video taped that Hookers and Blow party."|
Is everyone in this universe just really bad at planning?
Meanwhile Black Hat is up top again and about to infect Lucy, when Priest wakes up, climbs up top, and throws a knife into his throat. All in slow motion. This movie is barely long enough for a theatrical release as it is, and half of it is STILL slow-motion. To make a drawn-out scene shorter, Priestess jumps off the bike, Priest jumps off the train, Black Hat dies in the explosion, and Lucy and Alter Boy get together.
And really, the whole damn thing is so boring and derivative of every other action movie in the last 20 years, that even if it wasn't poorly written, horribly acted, and chopped all to hell in the editing room in order to get a PG-13 rating, it still wouldn't be worth the effort of watching it. You'd be better off trying to find Underworld or something similar in a DVD bargain bin somewhere than trying to sit through this trite piece of phoned in horse vomit.
Final Score: 2/10