"Paul Bettany" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

3 reasons why Priest is an underrated film

Priest remains an underappreciated piece of work

By: Jake Rajala

An action, sci-fi, futuristic film with Paul Bettany as an ass-kicking warrior couldn’t really be looked down on, could it? Well, it appears that Rotten Tomatoes and a slice over a large number of people see Priest as an overrated piece of work with weak communication. Somehow, the well-adapted Paul Bettany caught his fair share of criticism for seeming too bland in the film. I believe that the content in the movie may not have lived up to the trailer or idea of the film, but the passion was real in Bettany’s performance, many underrated themes were in play, and the vibes were on par with the likes of a “Tron Legacy”. 

Here is a more in-depth look at why I find Priest as a badass, rewatchable film by director Scott Stewart and writer Cory Goodman. 

Choice of Warrior

I love that Cory Goodman sat down and wrote a piece taking place in the future about religious figures being fierce guardians of a society protected from blood-thirsty vampires. The movie could have easily had undercover, futuristic agents, or “men in black” as the elite heroes of the film. Yet, the film depicts a unique choice of “Priests” as men and women with hindered identities, black robes, and weapons with chains and crosses. They fashionably combined an old-fashioned piece of apparel with very futuristic magic-like capability. 

We see samurais, pirates, and all sorts of superheroes flash their power in hand-to-hand combat. It was due for a “Priest with jedi-like abilities” to yield their robust power on opposing foes.

Paul Bettany 

I believe that Paul Bettany played a better performance in Priest than his apocalyptic movie in Legion. Bettany honestly wasn’t “half baked” in the movie, but I rather think his composure combined with stern attitude was on the tee in key parts of this film. The “Ex-communicated” scene with 1.5 million views was a positive representation of his seriousness and upset taste with the rules placed around him. His rebellious and aggressive move in the scene may not have been on par with the likes of Michael Fassbender, but I feel comfortable saying Bettany surprised nicely in this unique film of his.

Does Paul Bettany in Priest or Michael Fassbender in Assassin’s Creed look more lethal?

Many moments of altruism

I really like that Priest is made up of unique futuristic details and Paul Bettany is the main character. Still, I would have to say that the many altruistic acts in this cinematic experience act out as the cherry on top. I love that Bettany goes “against the establishment” to help a young, bright, family member in desperate need of saving — as she was kidnapped by the vampires (notably the lead vampire). The higher-up Priests sitting in their chairs didn’t grant the Priest to leave the city to find his kidnapped niece because they didn’t want to consider the fact that vampires were a threat or that literally anyone should leave the city for any particular goal. The rebellious Priest really shows his sole power and emotional outlook as he recognizes that the vampires pose a real threat in the realm and that he should garner more respect for the life work he’s done for the priests to leave the guarded walls and pursue this somewhat personal endeavor. So, the Priest takes down the “security squad” that tries to keep him in the city (AKA the ex-communicated scene) and he exits the gloomy town. 

Later in the film, the Priest is visited by “Priestess”, who tries to warn him of the other priests coming to stop him. She would then try to convince them that they should forget the rabbit chase, strip their affiliation with the church, and start a new journey together. Nonetheless, the Priest keeps his focus on his grand goal and empathic pursuit of freeing his “niece”. Just as Peter Parker and Bruce Wayne pushed away from their love fantasies, the Priest kept his attention to what mattered most. Then without hesitance, the Priestess would help the Priest recapture his cherished family and prevent the train of vampires from entering the city (which would then not have their top priests in protection). The priestess shows a fearless move of action as she brings all hell loose with a bomb strapped to her snazzy motorbike right into the train — which stops the train in its path.

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