***/**** Image A Sound A Extras B
starring Paul Bettany, Karl Urban, Cam Gigandet, Christopher Plummer
screenplay by Cory Goodman, based on the graphic novel series by Min-Woo Hyung
directed by Scott Stewart
by Walter Chaw I'm completely unfamiliar with the Min-Woo Hyong graphic novels on which visual-effects guy Scott Stewart's Priest is based, and the biggest surprise of the picture isn't that the guy who did the abominable Legion managed to make something so watchable, but that Priest made me want to track down Hyong's work. Before seeing this movie, I just sort of assumed that the comic was another weird west thing along the lines of Vertigo's Preacher; after, I'm led to believe that it's a canny little mélange of cyberpunk, weird west, and horror comics, with some solid Ghost in the Shell manga tossed into the mix. There's not a minute of the film, mind, that's without a clear antecedent--not one second that passes without a namecheck of not only stuff like Blade Runner (on the "Final Cut" of which Stewart served as an uncredited techie during his time at ILM) and, most obviously, Alien/Aliens, but also The Searchers as tortured, titular Priest (Paul Bettany) declares that if his vamp-abducted niece Lucy (Lily Collins) becomes infected, it would be his pleasure (?) to dispatch her.