Let me start by saying, forget yr 'X-Men: First Class' and 'Pirates of the Caribbean' THIS is THE film for action so far this year period.
I'm not gonna lie to you but this film borrows from every top film you can think of, there are many elements taken from the likes of 'Star Wars', 'The Matrix', 'Blade Runner', 'Blade', 'Aliens', 'Wild Wild West', 'Judge Dredd' and some visual styles from classic Westerns. All of which can be seen throughout for sure but this does not take away from this stunning post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller.
The start of the film is excellent with a gorgeous animated intro sequence explaining this films fantasy universe and what has gone before, the sequence is great stuff and is easily an animated series franchise in the waiting ready to go up against 'Clone Wars', I would watch it :)
From there we get introduced to a very 'Blade Runner' heavily influenced city which is constructed in the form of 'Mega City 1' from the 'Dredd' universe (a city behind massive walls where outside there is nothing but wasteland), yes its not too original but by golly it looks damn good. Everything you see is stylishly designed from clothes, buildings, signs to room interiors, to the smallest detail and it all looks practical too, this includes the amazing looking speeder bikes..er Batbikes...sorry motorbikes that are used, merely a turbine engine with a seat haha, they look powerful and slick.
I was hugely impressed with the first 20mins of the first and really wanted to see more, unfortunately from there we move into the wastelands where it goes to a more sci-fi Western theme which is still nicely done but it gets a tiny bit hokey, the landscapes you see are fantastic. We see Urban doing his best Clint thing along with his Clint hat, the fact that he is the main villain was obvious and also kind silly really, why is it all people that are best friends with the hero, that get killed by the enemy, then come back from the dead blaming their best friend for their death!?
Anyhows as the film moves on we do get some silly 'Matrix' style slow-mo fighting with a rather dubious way of killing the 'Hive Guardian' but none the less it doesn't detract. The vamps in the film look awesome and scary, their heads look slightly like Giger designs but they work well with steady cgi and with the mix of vamp slaves (humans that are half vamp, think 'Blade), the larger guardians and the mysterious Queen there is a good species evolution here for further exploration.
Casting is good here too with recognisable names but not big names which always works better in my view, Bettany is excellent here with his calm Jedi-like performance, you could see him as a Jedi easily haha same can be said for Maggie Q with her decent Jedi-like performance, both are not over the top but more understated and reserved as they battle along. Urban is more comicbook but he looks cool admittedly, its a shame the finale gets too comicbook-ish over the stylised future we were given at first.
This isn't gonna win any Oscars and from what I've read it hasn't wowed allot of people, why I don't know because I found it tremendous fun with gorgeous graphic design work used throughout making it a highly stylised distopian future set noir thriller...at least for the first 20min. Yes it gets abit silly as it progresses through and I wish they could of remained in the city (hopefully the sequel eh) but its still a vampire flick bottom line. I feel for Bettany as I enjoyed 'Legion' with its John Carpenter-like style and presentation which was underrated, this too is HIGHLY underrated and has immense promise with its vampire mythology and universe. I can't understand why people would enjoy semi decent fluff like 'Pirates of the Caribbean: Stranger Tides' and knock a visually impressive and promising fable like 'Priest'!
If you liked any of the films I have mentioned before then I see no reason why you won't like 'Priest', think 'Blade' set in the future or Jedi fighting vampires in a Blade Runner/Western world ;) highly recommended.