Thursday, May 18, 2017

Priests and Preachers

We saw Priest (2011), thinking it was the movie version of the TV series Preacher.  You can see how that might work - similar names, both based on comics, both involving vampires. Never mind. Netflix has been recommending this forever, and we would have surrendered eventually.

It starts with an animated introduction, about how mankind had always fought the vampires, but finally, the church had found the ultimate weapon: Priests. These human fighting machines had put the last remaining vampires in reservations. The priests were then retired, to live in obscurity. We then see the last bit of the war, where Priest Karl Urban (Bones!) gets sucked into the hive and Paul Bettany can't hold on to him.

Then, a little family farm in the wastelands of Texas is overrun by vampires, and we're done with the setup. Bettany is living in a Metropolis/Bladerunner city, when the young sheriff comes to tell him his brother's farm had been attacked. Although he's retired, and the Church refuses to let him go, he reluctantly heads out for vengeance, and to save his niece, Lilly Collins, who is being held captive.

It takes a while to figure out, but these vampires aren't regular vampires. They are not undead humans, but CGI eyeless, hairless creatures. There are weird looking humans as well, called familiars, but they aren't really explained. But the leader seems to be ... Karl Urban, in Sergio Leone drag, with fangs! It turns out he is the first of a new race of human-vampire hybrids. He is using the girl to lure Bettany to get either revenge, or to enlist him as another vamp.

This is kind of mixed up. There's a Searchers sub-plot, where the sheriff fears that Bettany is going to kill Collins if she has been "polluted". But up to now, we haven't seen these vamps turn anyone except Urban. They just eat people. So what are they thinking? Am I misunderstanding the mythos? Are the writers?

Never mind, that's not what's important. What's important is Paul Bettany with a huge cross tattooed on his face. Turbine engine motorcycles racing across the desert towards huge Babel-sized vamp hives. Bad-ass long coats. Karl Urban in a cowboy hat and serape (looking so much lie Deforest Kelley - remember, he was in a lot of westerns). Crucixes used as shuriken. You know, comicbook stuff.

So, it was fun, but not that much fun. We'll see what the Preacher TV series is like.

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