I always enjoy watching made-up worlds that clearly wouldn't work.
The fun part is imagining them a day or three after the events of the movie, when the locals take a look around and realize "Hey, you know what, we live in an endless desert. I hope my neighbors aren't too gamey."
Or "Those floating mountains everywhere -- we should probably take those down before they crush us into blood-pancakes."
A lot of secondary worlds are nice to spend a couple hours in, but would probably be hell to live in.
This goes double for vampire movies, where in point of fact we would not have typical orderly society plus vampires, but instead we would all live in the bed of a truck the size of Wisconsin that drives west so fast it never leaves the sunlight. This is just one of the many logical flaws of the pretty crummy Priest.
Man and vampires have warred since the dawn of time. With humanity on the verge of extinction and the world reduced to a wasteland, the tide was turned by the priests, an order of super-soldiers.
Now, the vampires are supposedly safely confined to reservations -- until they attack priest Paul Bettany's brother, kidnapping his niece Lily Collins. With the church denying the threat, Bettany must break his vows and travel into the wastelands to get Collins back.
But first he, and the audience, must go through a bunch of half-sketched foolishness. If Priest were a smoothie, it would be a blend of Blade Runner, 1984, a John Wayne movie and a heaping spoonful of something gray and bad-tasting. Big churchy heads deliver bland slogans from huge public video screens. People live in a grim and dirty metropolis. Meanwhile, the church leaders forbid Bettany to go after the girl because a writer once read that conflict equals drama.
Actually, they don't want to rile up the citizens or something, but everything in Priest is so paper-thin the church's objections seem capricious and arbitrary. Why were hordes of ravenous monsters that tried to kill all humans put on reservations rather than being wiped out? How the heck did a handful of priests who refuse to use guns kill thousands, possibly millions, of vampires? If all the land outside the cities looks like a pan of old bacon grease, where do they get their food? The world of Priest feels like a cardboard cutout, like a movie set rather than a place people actually live in.
The main tipoff that we're dealing with a shoddy 2000s action/fantasy/sci-fi flick is that Priest appears to have been shot in Grime-O-Vision. This film is grayer than stormclouds who've stopped taking their Wellbutrin. For whatever reason, that's how all these movies are made to look these days, and Priest decided it didn't want to stand out.
It isn't a total wreck. While its backstory is too big for its britches -- between a cartoon prologue and Bettany's busy history, this almost feels like a sequel to a movie that doesn't exist -- the underlying plot is actually pretty tight. And the hard-boiled dialogue is only about 35 percent crud by weight.
But man, are these guys humorless. They all act as if they just learned death exists or that their spouses have been cheating on them with the cast of Jersey Shore.
Priest does have flying knives, eyeless, wormlike, highly unsexy vampires, and rad bikes vrooming all over everything, so it's not a total loss. Priest: There are worse ways you could waste your life!