-MONTHLY VHS & DVD REVIEW-
copyright © 2001 - 2005 VideoVista
cast: Robin Dunne, Robert Knepper, Amelia Cooke, Christopher Neame, and Sunny Mabrey
director: Brad Turner
112 minutes (unrated) 2004
widescreen ratio 2.35:1
MGM DVD Region 1 retail
reviewed by Steve Anderson
Here we go again. Species, that semi-watchable movie that spawned a line of
steadily less-watchable sequels along with its voracious alien-breeder chick, is back
once again. Less, of course, Natasha Henstridge - whose career, although scarcely stellar,
isn't so far down the line for her movies to go direct-to-video without a second thought.
And sadly, also less a reason to watch this aside from all the frequent appearances of
our new female lead, Sunny Mabrey's accessories. That's right, it's one of those movies.
One of those that recognises its own failings to the point that the only way to keep
the attention of its audience is to have our young and terribly attractive female lead
drop her top at any given opportunity.
So what we have here is the story of a pretty stupid move. The first five minutes or
so are dedicated to recapping the first two movies, and also serve to illustrate the
idiocy we're about to see. Indeed, Species III is suffering from Santayana's great
curse - 'Those who will not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.' Just like
the Child's Play franchise, everyone believes they can fire up the Play Pals
line and absolutely nobody's going to have a Chucky problem like dear little Andy Barclay!
No, of course not! That's all done and over with!
We can fire up the assembly line - uh, I mean DNA sequencers - and rebuild Chucky - no,
wait, Eve this time - and absolutely nothing will go wrong! Criminy, you've all already
caught on by now. There's no way this is going to go smoothly. And frankly, it isn't
going smoothly. Between an incomprehensible jump between a pocket-sized fusion reactor,
a little girl who learns at a geometric rate, a prima donna professor, and assorted
other nastiness, we've got one incredibly confused plotline here.
Perhaps the best summation of the horribly confused plotline comes with just 21 minutes
left to go. Our hero character says: "I can't be sure." Neither can we, boyo,
and we're your audience. He continues: "My best guess is that they need someone
with scientific knowledge to help them bioengineer a new strain of species... cause
the current one's about to go extinct. And if they can't get my help, they'll get my
horny roommate to do it." Yes, yes, I know... now stop screaming already. I know
it sounds like a bizarre melding of Alien and National Lampoon's Van Wilder. I
know it watches even worse. But wait a while... chances are we'll get to see Sunny Mabrey
go topless again and that will make the hurting stop. Well, okay... maybe not stop so
much as go from endless misery to mere nagging discomfort.
I've got to say, the DVD menu does give me a little shot of cool. Over the course of
the repeating loop sequence over the option select, check out our newest Natasha Henstridge
Plan-B chick, Sunny Mabrey. Plan B was, of course, 'if she gets too big and/or old to
do this kind of thing anymore, bring in a hot young no-name to replace her.' Indeed,
Sunny Mabrey is hot, and unknown, and just enough of an actress to keep the whole movie
from sliding off the screen into obscurity. Although after this one, she's pretty much
locked into roles that involve her showing her boobs to anyone willing to pay attention.
But sadly, the special effects don't keep up. For instance - check out the effect at 38
minutes and 31 seconds. Frame advance it real slow, and you'll see our current designated
victim has the exact same facial expression before, during, and after the strike. It took
me a lot of internal debate over whether it was a dummy or CG, but whatever it was, it
was noticeable. And worse yet, try keeping a running count on how many men die mid-coitus
with our dear flash-happy Ms Mabrey. The ending features a clever twist; or rather it
would be clever if anyone cared enough to still pay attention at this point.
The DVD special features include subtitles in your choice of English, French, or Spanish,
along with director and cast commentary, a behind the scenes photo gallery, and a series
of behind the scenes featurettes describing a whole bunch of things that no one wanted
to hear about a movie no one really wanted to watch.