Who would have guessed Paul Bettany of all actors would become the go-to guy for religious-themed action horror movies? When he's not exploring the romantic life of Charles Darwin, menacing Tom Hanks across Europe or voicing Tony Stark's computer butler, Bettany tends to find himself gunning down the forces of Hell, often while diving through the air in slow motion and never, ever, ever cracking anything resembling a smile. Earlier this year, he played an ass-kicking warrior angel in forgettable but oh-so-silly Legion. Now, you can watch him dropkick some nasty 'ol vampires in the trailer for his latest film, where he plays an ass-kicking warrior priest in the appropriately titled Priest.
That trailer is not embeddable, so go ahead and give it quick click and a watch. Go on. I'm waiting. I've got all day. Ready? Okay.
What is there to say about Priest? It looks like it has the budget of an Underworld film (and the quality, too, but I'll let you decide if that's a good or bad thing). We've got a post-apocalyptic future populated by the CGI mutant nosferatus from I Am Legend. There's Paul Bettany with a cross tattooed on his face matching wits with a cowboy-ized Karl Urban. It may be the fact that the trailer itself isn't particularly well cut, but the whole thing looks pretty darn silly, potentially even sillier than the "Old Lady Demon Spider-Man" trailer for Legion.
I think Legion comparisons are most suitable, since both films share a star and a director, Scott Charles Stewart.
But you know what? All that aside, there seems to be a lot of imagination on display here and certainly a helluva lot more scope than your average film of this ilk. How much of this comes from Stewart and how much comes from the comic book it's based on (which I've honestly never heard of) is not known to me. All I know is that it looks ambitious, even if it's biting off more than it can chew.
Seeing this trailer makes me curious to see the future trajectory of Bettany's career. The man's certainly talented, a true character actor if not a natural leading man, and he has a gravitas that's capable of grounding silly genre efforts like Legion and Priest. I'd like to see him take on more challenging stuff, but if he's going to keep "slumming" it, I'm glad he's doing his time battling the forces of CGI-created darkness.
Priest should hit sometime in 2011.