Being a review of the 2011 movie Priest.
If you move past the awkward writing and badly-acted gravelly voices, this movie is actually pretty good, from a gaming and setting point of view.
I submit the following points as evidence:
- The priests are clerics of the ass-kicking school. They even have a weapon restriction (though it’s against guns rather than bladed weapons, and is not explained; this restriction was probably meant as an excuse for martial arts, but it still made me think of D&D clerics).
- There is a party of adventurers (ultimately made up of 2 clerics and 1 fighting man).
- Vampires are nasty monsters, not misunderstood antiheroes. Since “the eyes are the windows to the soul”, vampires have no eyes. They are insect-like horrors.
- The setting is a very good fit for a wilderness in the D&D sense. The only places safe from monsters are the walled cities, which are ruled by a corrupt priesthood.
- The city is a self-conscious homage to Blade Runner.
- It also brings to mind a mock-serious goth version of Trigun (I mean that as a compliment); I like the use of the Western (in the sense of cowboys and outlaws) imagery and stereotypes. (Aside: Wolfwood from Trigun is also a post-apocalyptic ass-kicking cleric.)
There are a few truly cringe-worthy scenes (for example, evil guy “conducting” the pillaging of a town as if he were Beethoven). The Matrix-inspired fight scenes are not bad, but I feel like the ambiance might have been better served by less martial arts and more gritty action. That being said, these elements are more than balanced by the beautiful post-apocalyptic grey and brown vistas. I particularly like the scene with the huge statues when the priest is first leaving the city, and the bird’s eye view shots when they are driving though the skyscraper ruins. Something that came to mind: it could possibly be interesting as a silent movie with a creative soundtrack and a few scenes cut.