Priest 3D

I've been wracking my brain for a few days now to figure out a way to start a review of Priest 3D. Do I start with a quick breakdown of the plot? Essentially a post-apocalyptic take on John Wayne's The Searchers with the Priests as the Cowboys and mutant vampires as the Indians, the film centers on one such Priest (Paul Bettany) whose niece is abducted by vampires, causing him to set out across the wasteland, seeing to her rescue. He does so against the wishes of the Ministry, headed up by Monsignor Orelas (Christopher Plummer, who is either hurting for work or seriously slumming in this picture). Apparently the vampire menace has been put down, and any hint to the contrary is a threat to the totalitarian protective construct that the church has built.

Wackiness and Violence ensue, eventually leading to another group of priests (led by Maggie Q) being sent to bring back our protagonist, by any means necessary. Before long they run into the evil Priest/Vampire hybrid, Black Hat (played rather lethargically by Karl Urban), who wants to tear down the church... or something. To be honest, by the time they got to his motivation for anything, I wasn't really paying attention anymore.

Of course, the above breakdown pretends that the plot makes any kind of sense, which it doesn't. This film isn't only bad, it's AGGRESSIVELY bad. It's the kind of movie that comes into your house at night, steals your babies, and returns them to you as mindless zombies whose only purpose is to churn out money to see movies this. Freakin'. Bad.
Not even fun enough to mock, the film's pacing was set to fast-forward so you couldn't digest any of the scenery (recycled from a dozen other post-apocalyptic films), the characters (two-dimensional is actually adding an extra dimension), the monsters (badly recycled from the crappy vampires in "I Am Legend"), or the afore-mentioned threadbare plot. The movie never lingers on any particular element long enough for you to care, and as such, boredom quickly settles in. The one interesting aspect, that of the dictatorial Church of the Cyberpunk Jesus, is glazed over 4 minutes.

Well, at least the action's good, right? Sadly, no. Suffering from the same pacing problems as the rest of the picture, the action sequences are slap-dashedly thrown together so that you can't tell what's going on with the exception of a couple of "gee-whiz this was shot in 3D" moments.

As it's based on a Manga, I can only suppose that there is a better story to be had here, and it's a shame that the setting that could have been interesting wasn't used to better effect. Really, there's nobody to which I'd recommend this movie. It's terrible to sit through on your own (as I did), and the choice of action-packed vamp flicks for a Cavalcade has much better choices, the Blade Trilogy for starters. The first two for quality entertainment, and the last one for something to rip to shreds with friends.

Legion

Every few years, Hollywood resurrects a theme or story, slaps on a fresh coat of paint, and calls it a new movie. In the 90's it was sequels, in the early 2000's-remakes. I suppose we should all be happy that Legion is neither, even if it does borrow some elements from The Prophecy.

The Prophecy was an awesome morsel of a movie, and this movie is familiar with that dish, but has a  recipe all its own: 100% more guns, a tablespoon of Charles S. Dutton, half a cup of Paul Bettany, and a quarter-pound diced religion. Cook at 350 degrees for 100 minutes.

It's two days before Christmas when Michael (Bettany), God's Five Star General, falls to earth and cuts off his wings. A few moments after that, he breaks into an Asian toy importer, which just happens to be a front for a large cache of weapons.

Are you picking up what I'm putting down? The Patron Saint of Kicking Ass, The goddamned (ok, maybe not damnedDragonslayer, just came down to earth and picked up two of every assault rifle and sub-machine gun he could find, like Noah crossed with Rambo.

Meanwhile, at a diner in the middle of nowhere, where shit is known to go down in these sorts of movies, a young woman named Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) is pregnant and Jeep, (Lucas Black, the creepy kid from American Gothic) has appointed himself her sworn, but mostly inept, guardian.

Also at the diner is a dysfunctional family of three one of whom is the cougar-tacular Kate Walsh.Dennis Quaid phones it in as the diner owner and Jeep's father, and of course Mr. Dutton giving it his all, like always he does.  In fact, Quaid is the only who appears to not care in this movie. Everyone else is putting their best into their performance, and Bettany is pretty stunning as Michael.

I'm not spoiling anything when I tell you that The Apocalypse comes, because that's really the first ten minutes or so.  The Department of Homeland Security even calls it the Apocalypse while encouraging people to pray and to kill the angels. What's the security color code for that? ("Be Advised: Today's National Threat level is code ONYX for Impending Doom").

Overall, the movie plays it very straight, and its apocalypse feels so earnest that the six characters trying to sort out their personal issues while the world is ending feels a little silly. The Dysfunctional Mom actually tries to blame the whole Apocalypse on her daughter. I guess it makes sense that while you're waiting for an army of Angel-powered zombies to kill you, you'll discuss whatever to keep your mind off it, but did no one in this movie read a goddamned John Grisham novel? Small talk, people!

You shouldn't watch this movie along with The Prophecy, but the second one had Glen Danzig. Sounds like a Calvacade to me!

EXTRA BONUS: Like most religion based movies, this movie tries to have message beyond "Good should triumph over evil." It also has to tell you how. In this case, there's an implied anti-aborition message that can be summed up as, "Don't get an abortion, it might be The Messiah."