Director: Scott Charles Stewart
Starring: Paul Bettany, Karl Urban
Run time: 87 mins
Cliché is a dangerous thing. It can be parodied, used for misdirection or avoided, but it can never, ever be overused. Unfortunately, Priest 3D is all cliché. From the opening, dark, dripping den of vampires, a mess of CGI and Gollum-esque scuttling, the film never manages to break away from a banal mix of formulaic plot stages and stilted, unnatural dialogue.
I had reasonably high hopes for this film, I really did. Paul Bettany is a fine if underrated actor, recognised by many only as the albino monk from The Da Vinci Code, and provides a dark, methodical and grounded effect to the film amongst absurd flights of computer-enhanced lunacy. Basically the plot of the film boils down to Priests vs. Vampires. The Vampire threat was stopped by the elite fighters, the ‘Priests’ years ago, and peace reigns. However, guess what? More vampires emerge…led by a mysterious figure. Could it be the priest that was captured by the vampires during the opening credits? Well, let’s say there aren’t many surprises in this film…
One of my major gripes was the emphasis placed on the Church element of the film. I accept that a film called Priest must of course have Christian, if not generally religious overtones, but there is a limit. From the large red cross on the forehead of each of the Priests, to the cross-shaped throwing stars, the villain’s crucifixion of the priests and the prayer they share before each slow motion battle, the religious iconography is thrust in front of the audience repeatedly until it becomes dull and uninspired.
Ultimately, Priest 3D is a disappointment of a film, attempting to recreate the atmospheric horror of Underworld, but managing only to conjure images of a grittier Twilight.