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May 19, 2011

MY CALL:  This graphic novel-adapted flick was entertaining.  Not good.  Maybe not too bad, depending on what you’re looking for.  A lot of the “bad” of the movie was met with an “oh, come on” smile rather than adversity.  I won’t recommend it, but I didn’t leave the theater wishing I had my money back either…but close. [C]  IF YOU LIKE THIS, WATCH:  The Blade movies and Equilibrium.  Both deliver the package intended (but misfired) by this movie.

 For the trailer, click here:

      Hey.  Remember when Paul Bettany packed on 20 pounds of muscle (from his A Knight’s Tale days) for the poorly executed movie Legion?  Well, same director (Scott Charles Stewart), same general theme, different story, slightly more forgivable outcome.  Paul Bettany plays a priest.  But this priest is nothing like we’re accustomed to…unless you saw Dracula II: Ascension or Dracula III: Legacy where Jason Scott Lee filled a similar niche.  This jedi-jumping priest, named “Priest”, was trained by the church to do nothing other than kill vampires.

            This theocratic megacity, surrounded by arid wasteland, smacked hard of Judge Dredd.  (FYI: Karl Urban will be playing Judge Dredd in the upcoming Dredd.)  The wasteland has some small old west-ish towns which offered a spoonful of Mad Max.  The emotionless priest-warriors, the stolid city council, and the advanced technology of the city were taken straight from Equilibrium.  The priests have some cool vamp-slaying toys…Blade.  The priests hate familiars…Blade II.  The priests wear trench coats…Blade: Trinity.  The vampires moved and looked like the demons in Constantine.  The vampires have “hives” and a queen…Aliens.  Oh, and they develop in cocoons…really?  A subtle Van Helsing rip?  With all this ammo, there is really no need to explain anything about the plot.

            The cast felt weakly utilized.  Cam Gigandet, who was enjoyable as a meant-to-be-hated character in Pandorum and The Experiment, played a marshal who annoyed both Priest and me.  Karl Urban (The Bourne Supremacy, Star Trek) played a displaced character whose nature would only seem practical to a preteen comic book superfan.  If you had never seen any of his other work, you’d think Christopher Plummer was a talentless actor.  Lastly, Maggie Q was way under-utilized.  She had the coolest combat moment in the movie—and it was just that: a moment—but she should have had more.  And, while we’re on the action scenes, the camera style and film quality made it difficult to follow most of the action.  As a result, the martial arts-savvy priests’ skills were poorly showcased (with little exception).  One Dragonball­-cracked-out action scene actually made me angry.  Doubtless to say, you’ll know it when you see it.

            I’ll try to end on a mostly positive note since this likely reads as if I didn’t enjoy this movie when, really, I admittedly did.  Despite the weak presentation of the execution of action, the gore, dismemberment, and movement (of the more-beast-than-man vampires) were well-done.  The CGI-painted backgrounds, crypty vampire hives and the cityscape were deeply detailed.

            The ending was blatantly designed to leave room open for a sequel, but you’ll probably have to flip through a comic book to find out what happens next.

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