With his high-tea good looks and patently British comportment, Paul Bettany could've easily ridden 2004’s Wimbledon into a long, fruitful rom-com career in the Hugh Grantian mold. Instead, he’s chosen to take on unconventional supporting parts in blockbusters (self-flagellating Silas in The Da Vinci Code; RDJ's smartass computer in Iron Man) and tongue-in-cheek, pseudo-sacred starring roles — a glowering killer angel in 2009's Legion, and now a glowering, good-with-a-blade clergyman in Priest.
Based on a Korean graphic novel, Scott Charles Stewart (who also directed Legion) has created a smudgy, sunless religious oligarchy where huddled-mass humans live in walled cities to protect from vampire attacks. The capital-C Church runs a tight dystopian ship — check out the plebes lining up at Port-a-Potty confessionals complete with pre-taped penances from Monsignor Orelas (Christopher Plummer) — one with no room for the Priests, an elite vamp-slaying squad that falls out of favor after the undead "problem" is dubbed squelched. When Bettany's young niece is vamp-napped, however, he comes out of retirement, against the will of the Church, to rescue her and combat a new fanged threat.
Full of fun fights, uber-hammy dialogue and plenty of secular sexual tension (!) between Bettany and Maggie Q, Priest doesn't purport to be anything it's not, but the movie unravels oddly, as if large chunks of plot development were knifed out in favor of flow.